3 Essential post-burglary tasks

What should you do if you come home to find it’s been ransacked? Don’t panic; be organized and strategic.

There are three main actions you should take, in the following order:

  • Report and check
  • Clean up
  • Plan ahead

Report the crime and check the home

Your goal here is safety first and then catching the bad guys. The following tips will point you in these directions.

  • If you’re sure your house was robbed before you make entry, do not enter until the police come.
  • Call the police, then check to make sure all occupants are unharmed, starting with the most vulnerable, if the crime took place while you all were present.
  • If you come home to what appears to be a burglary/invasion, immediately call the police once you know you’ve been robbed.
  • Leave the home and seek a safe place like a neighbors or your running car.
  • Don’t linger outside; the burglar/s could still be inside.
  • Don’t assume that the intruders will get away with it because there’s no sign of them. Your stolen property may still be recovered.
  • Do not touch anything until the police arrive.
  • If you’re sure the burglar/s are gone and nobody is hurt, do an inventory of stolen belongings. Create two lists: one for the police and one for your insurance company.
  • Don’t wait longer than 24 hours to file a police report; prompt reporting is necessary for an insurance claim.

Clean up

Burglary and home invasions can have long lasting emotional and traumatic affects on a person. Your goal here is a fresh start so the impact of the robbery doesn’t take over your being. If your home or apartment develops a “black cloud”, then moving may be your only consolation.

  • After the police are finished, clean up. Promptly remove furnishings or appliances that are no longer functional, as these will otherwise serve as reminders of the violation.
  • Alter the rooms where the robbery occurred so that they’re not as much of a conditioned stimulus for fear or anger: repaint the walls, rearrange the furniture, get new curtains.

Plan ahead

Being proactive is the most effective way to avoid being chosen as a victim or to reduce the impact of a burglary.

  • Before being robbed, take photos of valuables; list their model and serial numbers.
  • Ask yourself what you can do to deter another invasion.
  • Assess your house and pretend you’re a burglar. Where are the weak points? Are there areas you’d be able to easily enter?
  • If you don’t have a home alarm system, get one. If you already do, find out why it didn’t stop the invasion. Consider upgrading it.
  • Change all locks.
  • Get shatter-proof window screens.
  • Enroll the entire family (save for preschoolers) in a self-defense program. Don’t assume a gun is your only or best defense.
  • Discuss with law enforcement, locksmiths, your insurance company and security professionals ways to improve your plan.
  • Live happily ever after.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

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