Basics

My House Just Got Broken Into – What to do

An open front door from a break-in
The front door is open, was there a break-in?

This may be one of the most horrifying experiences, not only if you were in the house when it happened but also if you come home and realize that the front door is open or a window is broken. There are so many memories and valuable items in your house that may be gone forever. Now you are faced with the question: What to do? My house just got broken into.

Lucky I was not home

lucky I was not home when getting robbed
Lucky me, I was not home during the burglary

Great, you were not in the house when it was burglarized. If you realize that something is wrong when you come back home, remember, DO NOT go inside. That’s for two reasons. The burglary may still be going on and you don’t really want to face a stranger who may have a gun or will knock you out with a baseball bat. The other reason is to preserve the crime scene.

 

Call the police

The very first thing you have to do is calling the police. Like I said before, somebody may still be in the house and trust me, the police knows how to handle thieves and burglars if they catch them in the act, you don’t unless you are Chuck Norris. Once the police show up, make sure you file a report. That report will entail details about the burglary, how and where the burglar got into the house, what was damaged, what was stolen, and if they found any fingerprints.

Remember, these detectives are trained and know what to look for. Try to give the best description possible of the stolen goods.  If you remember seeing someone suspicious when you arrived at the house, try to list details about that person like height, facial features, hair color and style, clothing, etc.

Looking for evidence
Call the police after a house break-in

In case you have a security system with cameras, this is the perfect time to review the tapes. If you are lucky, you got the burglary as well as the thief on camera.

Only if you file a police report, you may have a chance to get your stolen items back if the criminal gets caught. Don’t bother going to pawn stores to find any of your stolen goods. Unless you were burglarized by a dumb thief, stolen items may wind up for sale on-line, but hardly ever in pawn stores.

Make sure to get the number of the police report and the name of the police officer in charge, because you need it later for the insurance.

Once the police are done with their investigation, you can take photos and/or videos of the burglarized room(s). Look around, there may be clues that the police overlooked and you know your home better than anybody else. Yes, I did say that the police are well trained, but they can also miss clues.

Report the burglary to the insurance

Report the burglary to your insurance
report the burglary to the insurance

Let’s just assume that you have a homeowner insurance. When you report a break-in to the insurance, first thing they’ll ask: Did you file a report with the police? If you did, you will look like a winner. With that police report, they now have a document with all the details about the burglary including what was stolen.

Be prepared to answer questions regarding the value of the stolen items as well as when you purchased the item(s).

 

Should I have a security system?

I would hope that you have a security system, but some of us just cannot afford high monthly payments and spend hundreds of dollars on security.

You may find an affordable solution in my Security System reviews.

 

 

Are there any weak points in my home security?

Improve My Home SecurityYou thought you had it all covered, but still got burglarized. Why and how? Review your installation.  The first thing to evaluate is: How did they get in? Did they enter through a window that does not have a sensor? Did they break a window and your alarm did not go off? Do you have cameras but the break-in was not recorded? Write yourself a checklist of security items that need to be reviewed.

Some thieves actually take the calculated risk that the home has a security system and the alarm goes off. They know more or less, on average, how long it takes for the police to get to the house. So they get in and grab as many valuables as possible in the time the think they have without being caught.

 

Check for any stolen documents

We just don’t think about all the important documents that we in our homes. Imagine you have been living in your for years, at times for decades. There are tons of records and documents in your drawers and cabinets that can expose everything about you.

filing cabinet forcefully opened
filing cabinet opened with force

Most likely you keep records of your monthly bills, not only the regular utility bills but also your mortgage records and the monthly bank statements with your account number. How about checkbooks? Checks have your account number and the bank’s routing number. Many times that is sufficient information to purchase with a check via phone.

Are you missing any records regarding your credit or debit cards, and how about those department store statements and cards? You may have a second credit card in your drawer in case you lose the other one. Is it still there?

As you can see, there are many questions to be asked when it comes to stolen document, and it’s difficult to determine if something was stolen.

Just to be on the safe side, call the bank and cancel your cards while asking for new cards. Do the some with any of your department store cards.

Further Readings

In order to get a better idea of what you may need in a security system, please read How does it work?

There is also a blog with a lot of ideas about deterrents, such that a potential burglar would not pick you home. How To Improve My Home Security – Home Burglary Deterrents

If you did not record the burglary properly with your cameras, or you did not get a good look at the thief’s face, I recommend the following reading: Where to place security cameras

Enjoy and stay safe!

Rudi


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