Last month we looked at the ways in which you can secure your home over the festive period to minimise the chances of being burgled. Sometimes, no matter what we do, disaster strikes and we are the unlucky ones who come home to a home that has been broken into and our possessions stolen. It is never pleasant walking in after an evening with family or friends or coming home from a few days away to find our homes have been violated. Unfortunately, the chances of a break-in over the festive period are higher than at any other time of the year and the instances of burglary are increasing year-on-year according to a recent Telegraph article.
So what should you do if you find yourself a victim of burglary? Here are the key steps to take to minimise distress and get back on track as quickly as possible.
1. Call the police
Call the police on 101 as soon as you discover that you have been burgled. If it is an emergency, or if the burglary is still in progress, then dial 999 and stay outside – do not enter the property and put yourself at risk. Once the police get there they will give you a crime reference number, which is important for insurance purposes and it also logs the crime. They may be able to recover your belongings as well, so don’t be put off by thinking that it’s done and you will never see your valuables again.
2. Don’t touch anything
Until the police have been in and finished their investigations it is best not to touch anything. One of the things the police will do is try to collect any forensic evidence that burglars may have left behind so you don’t want to make matters worse by ruining any evidence. Don’t be tempted to tidy up until you have had the all-clear from the police.
3. Make a list of what is missing or damaged
Start to make a list of items that have been stolen or damaged during the burglary. You may want to take photos of the areas that have been damaged or locations of where missing items were to show your insurance company. If you have CCTV cameras in and around your property let the police know as they may have captured valuable evidence.
4. Talk to your bank or mobile phone provider
If any bank or credit cards have been stolen, or your mobile phone has been taken, call them at the first opportunity so they can block and cancel your cards and SIM card.
5. Check that no keys are missing
If you have any missing house, window, or car keys get the locks changed as soon as possible. It is not unheard of for burglars to have stolen a set of keys in order to come back in a few months’ time to steal the new replacements you have got through your insurance company!
6. Call your insurer
Armed with your police crime reference number and inventory of stolen articles, it is time to talk to your insurance company about filing a claim. Depending on your cover, they may be able to help with new locks, repairs to any damage to your property, and replacing stolen items.
7. Review your home security measures
Consider what measures you can take to make sure you make it as difficult as possible for future burglars to break into your property.
For advice and assistance on this our DNA Security team is here to help. We have solutions to suit all budgets and needs and the experience to help you find the right ones for you. Just call us on 01424 718 844 for a chat or to make an appointment.