What to Do if Your Home Is Burgled? Dealing With the Worst-Case Scenario

Unfortunately, it’s all too common for homeowners to face a burglary in their lifetimes. According to recent studies, in 2020-2021, over 267,000 homeowners reported burglaries in England and Wales.

While home security systems are a formidable tool to have in your weaponry against break-ins, there are still steps you must take to protect yourself, your finances, and your property if the worst does happen.

As experts in home security, Boundary is here to help you every step of the way. We’ve put together our advice on what to do immediately after a break-in, just in case.

Immediately After the Break-In

Entering your home after a break-in can be a scary experience. It’s easy to have your mind go blank. However, there are steps you must take immediately after the break-in to limit the amount of damage the intruder can wreak on your life and finances.

1. Contact the Police, if Your Security System Hasn’t Already

The first step is an obvious one. Make sure that the police have been contacted. Many home security systems will automatically call the police after an alarm has been sounded, but it never hurts to double-check with your Alarm Monitoring Centre (ARC) or read again the exact messaging of alerts to your smartphone.

Boundary is planning to offer a monitoring option with police response that will contact the police and get you the fastest possible Level 1 police response. If you don’t have police response however, the sooner you contact the police the better.

Some homeowners hesitate in calling 999 because they believe the intruder has already fled. The truth is, you never know how many intruders there might have been. It’s much better to have the police investigate as they are trained and equipped to handle the burglar if there is one still lurking in your home.

2. Don’t Touch a Single Thing

We’ve all seen episodes of television where the police tell others not to disrupt the crime scene. It’s the same for break-ins. You don’t want to touch anything or move anything since the police will need to see the location and possibly look for evidence of fingerprints.

3. Wait Somewhere Safe

While you wait for the police, make sure that you are somewhere safe. Safe could mean exiting the house and staying with a neighbour, entering a panic room, or entering another secure room with a lock.

Again, you never know if there could be another intruder in your home. Even if you are confident that one intruder exited the house (if you saw them exit), there could be others in your home. Intruders can become violent when fearful or backed in the corner. Even if they’ve left, there’s always a chance they could come back.

Chances are, they weren’t anticipating you coming home and interrupting the burglary. They may be on edge and violent, so waiting somewhere safe until the police arrive is paramount.

4. Get in Touch With Your Bank

Once the police have arrived on the scene and you are confident that you are safe, it’s time to begin the process of damage control. The first step you’ll want to take is to get in touch with your bank.

Apart from stealing valuables like cash, jewellery, or car keys, the next thing a burglar may try to steal is your identity. Burglars sometimes steal mail or other documents with personal information to take out loans in your name, open credit cards, and so forth.

As a result, you must speak with your bank immediately and tell them that someone may have access to your personal information. Confirm with your bank that your financial records are safe. For added protection, change all of your security codes, PINs, and passwords.

5. Take an Inventory

Take an inventory of belongings or items that you believe are missing. Let the police know, and also your insurance provider.

Make a count of what is there and what isn’t. Include even minor items you deem of little or no value, as it could prove beneficial for the police investigation. Often burglars will sell items at thrift shops and second-hand shops, and knowing exactly what is missing provides the greatest chance of catching the burglar.

6. Contact Your Home Insurance Provider

Hopefully, you have home insurance. In fact, most home insurance policies cost less if you have a home security system – sometimes as much as 10% less.

Once you have contacted the bank to confirm that your personal information is safe, the next step is to contact your home insurance provider. Once you do, you can file a claim with your insurance company to hopefully get some of the money back to pay for damages and replace your stolen property.

If you can, try to contact your insurance provider within 24 hours to speed up the process. Your insurance provider will most likely send a claims or loss adjuster to verify the crime and investigate the claim. You should not mess with the crime scene before they arrive, meaning that you may need to stay with family or at a hotel.

Once Things Have Settled Down

The days following a burglary are likely to be difficult, however it’s important to take steps to strengthen the security of your home and try to regain a feeling of safety.

1. Secure Your Home and Repair Any Damage

After your home has been burgled, and the police and insurer are happy for you to do so, you’ll want to clean up the damage and secure your home.

Cleaning up your house is an essential step in the emotional recovery process. Chances are, you’re emotionally shaken from the event. Cleaning up and re-securing is a way to take back agency and feel safe again in your home.

If you didn’t have a home security system (or yours was broken), now is a great time to invest or upgrade to a more formidable system.

Another benefit of cleaning up the damage is that you may stumble across a piece of evidence that the police missed, like an item that the burglars dropped during the burglary.

Be on the lookout for any suspicious items that wouldn’t usually be in your home, and contact the police if you believe you’ve found any evidence.

2. Replace Anything That Was Stolen and Secure It

Hopefully, your home insurance will provide you with some funds to replace anything valuable that was stolen. Getting back to a sense of normality is an important step to making home feel like home again. The sooner you can replace items and be back in your routine, the better.

Burglars sometimes re-target homes to steal the replaced items. Consider a safe that’s screwed to the floor for your jewellery, and make sure you discreetly dispose of any packaging from large electrical items. You don’t want to advertise that you’ve just got a brand new 70” Smart TV.

3. Get Support If You Need It

Too many people in the UK are burdened by burglaries every year. Many people struggle to deal with a range of emotions that happen after strangers have been in their home and gone through their things.

Coping mechanisms and online resources offer great starting points for handling your emotional distress, but sometimes you need to reach out for extra support through friends or family.

If you’re having a hard time adjusting after the break-in, don’t beat yourself up. It’s common to experience intense feelings of guilt, sadness, depression, and panic for the weeks or even months following a burglary.

Make sure that you gather a strong support system around you so that you feel less alone and more empowered following a burglary. Consider joining community groups and initiatives to increase your local support network. Boundary also offers a panic button in the app, an added reassurance that you can activate the siren yourself at a moment’s notice.

4. Follow Our Tips on Improving Your Home Security

Home security is essential to protecting your home from another burglary. A more obvious sign you have an alarm system might be the push they need to leave your home alone. An outdoor siren which lights up at night is a good deterrent.

The Boundary app features an integral panic button. You might find it reassuring to know you can slide the button on your phone to activate the siren at a moment’s notice, wherever you are in the house.

If you’re currently self-monitoring your system, you could think about other monitoring options. Particularly if you’re at work all day, or there are long periods where the house is unoccupied. It’s good to know that even if you miss the alert to your phone, nominated friends and family could step in.

Protect Your Home With Boundary

Whether you’ve just recovered from a burglary or you’re planning to upgrade your system to prevent a burglary from happening, Boundary will strengthen your sense of security. Rest easy knowing that your home is protected by cutting edge smart security that has been designed to meet the toughest EU standards.

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