A home burglary is a traumatic experience that leaves you and your family feeling violated and insecure. Sometimes you have trouble sleeping afterwards or you may find yourself jumping at little noises or feeling anxious.
All of these emotions are normal and are part of the healing process. However, there are some steps you can take to help get control of your well-being. Here are four steps to take to regain your peace of mind.
1. Report the Burglary to the Police
As soon as you discover the problem, report the crime to the police. The police will arrive and dust for finger prints or try and collect any evidence to assist in capturing the burglar. You’ll need a police report within 24-hours of the crime if you plan to claim from your insurance. Once you’ve contacted the police, your insurance agent will need a list of everything that is missing or was broken in the robbery. Make your list as detailed as possible.
Do a walk-through of your home with a notebook in hand. If possible, search for any photographs you may have of electronics, jewellery, or other valuables that are missing to reference the scene so you don’t leave anything off the list.
This can often be an emotional process, but it’s a necessary step to not only reclaim your physical property, but to also help you heal. You are confronting what has happened and taking the steps to make the situation right again.
2. Start the recovery process.
Burglary victims often feel violated after a break-in. This is especially true if the home has been ransacked or damaged. The complete disrespect for your property is nerve racking. In order to regain a sense of order and peace, it’s important to start the recovery process as soon as possible. Clean up your home, put items back in place, and rearrange the furniture. If you have children, try and arrange for them to stay at a relative, or close friends house, so that they aren't too emotionally affected by the mess and stress of the burglary. Some things to do right away include:
Boarding up any broken windows or doors
Sweeping glass or broken pieces
Rearranging the furniture
Putting pictures back on the wall
Sometimes the simple act of rearranging furniture or putting a fresh coat of paint in a room can help in the healing process.
3. Be prepared for the future.
After you’ve restored order in your home, take the steps necessary to be prepared for the future. You’ll want to make a list of all the valuables in your home, their estimated worth, and serial numbers.
You’ll also want to take photographs of each item. If you are a victim of a crime again in the future, you’ll be better prepared. Keep this information locked in a safe or somewhere safe. Items to document include jewellery, electronics, art, and any other family heirlooms. Consider investing in "Smartwater' an invisible DNA gel which is applied to your high value products. Some police and local authorities can provide this for free under crime reduction schemes - Speak to your local safer neighbourhoods police officer for more information
4. Secure your home.
The last step in recovering from a burglary is to do what you can to prevent future break-ins. Get a home intruder alarm system installed as soon as possible. You may consider a system with remote monitoring, video surveillance, or motion-detection. There are many home security options available including app controlled systems which can monitor your sensors, and link into CCTV cameras.
Be sure to get locks on any windows, especially ground-floor windows, and get dead bolts for your doors. Make sure you use the locks once they are installed. Consider changing or upgrading your locks if you think that spare keys may have been taken during the burglary - most insurance policies will cover replacement locks after a burglary. Remember that once you have been burgled once, your chances of being burgled again are significantly increased.
Keep in mind that recovery from a burglary takes times. Everyone has a different healing process; you can’t rush through it. Let your own recovery time take its own course, while taking the steps necessary to prevent crimes from happening again. For additional support after a burglary, speak to your local police, or victim support - www.victimsupport.org.uk