What to Do After a Break-In
Every minute counts after your home experiences a break-in. In this article we’ll outline a step-by-step guide on what you need to do immediately after a break-in, within the first 24 hours, and the weeks following. From calling the authorities to searching for a reliable home alarm system, we’ll cover the most important steps to ensure your family’s safety in the future.
Your first instinct after experiencing a break-in will most likely be either to clean-up or assess the damage. But despite your gut reaction, it’s important for you to leave the scene, get to a safe location (your car, for example) and call the police.
This ensures two things:
- Your personal safety
- The crime scene does not get contaminated or tampered with
Do not attempt to prevent a break-in if it is in progress when you arrive. If there is an intruder in your home when you arrive, leave immediately and call the police.
Once the police arrive, they might ask you a few questions about the break-in. It’s important to stay calm and let the police do their work. They will give you a case number. Keep that number in order to complete the next steps.
First 24 Hours
The next day is for making some phone calls, assessing the damage and taking inventory of what’s been stolen.
Phone calls to make:
- Insurance company
- Credit card companies
- Your bank
Your first phone call should be to your insurance company. If you’re renting, call the insurance number listed in your lease. Follow their instructions, and provide the case number so they can record that the authorities have been notified. It’s possible that your insurance policy will cover the cost to repair any damage (broken windows or smashed doors).
When a break-in has occurred, your credit cards or bank accounts may have been compromised, so it’s important you notify any financial institutions you have accounts with. This way, they are aware that there could be fraudulent charges and can start monitoring your accounts for any suspicious activity.
After you’ve made the appropriate phone calls, and the police have cleared you to return to the scene, now you can take the time to assess the damage that’s been done to your home. Slowly walk through your home, writing down and taking pictures of any damage you notice. It’s probable your insurance company provided you with a contact that you can send this information to.
Next, walk through your home again and take inventory of anything that has been stolen. Of course take note of any big ticket items such as computers, TVs or firearms, but also don’t forget to check your medicine cabinets to take inventory of any prescription drugs that might have been taken.
Relay any and all information to your insurance company and the police. After that, it’s important to monitor your own stress levels and remind yourself that you’re doing all that you can in the moment.
Remember: Take it one step at a time.
The Following Weeks
After the first 24 hours, things will slow down quite a bit. There will most likely be a series of waiting periods to hear back from both your insurance company and the police. In these times, it’s important to check in on your mental health periodically.
Break-ins, whether they happened while you were home or not, are traumatizing experiences and can leave you feeling unsafe and vulnerable. It’s worth considering seeking temporary help from a mental health professional to help you cope. It also might be in your best interest to consider staying with friends or family until you feel safe returning to your home.
In the coming weeks, assess your current home security situation. Do you have a security alarm? What about a video camera? If there are some obvious vulnerabilities in your home protection system, this is a good time to start researching companies and security systems that make sense for your home and your budget.
Barcom Home Security Packages
Now that you know exactly how to handle things immediately after a break-in occurs, it’s important to consider partnering with the right security company to protect you, your family and your possessions. For about $1 a day, Barcom Security can ensure you’ll never have to go through this again.
If you’d like to know more about home security systems, or want to know the option(s) that might be right for your home, contact the Barcom Security team.