Being a victim to home invasions can be a very traumatic experience. Burglars target any home or establishment they feel will turn a quick profit. Compassion is something you won’t find on a criminal’s resume. Besides the emotional damage it can cause, almost all break-ins are destructive to the home and property of the victim. Their goal is to get in quick,grab the easy profit items, and be gone all within 10 minutes. That can be a big loss in such a short time period. If you find yourself the victim of a home invasion it is important to be aware of the steps that need to be taken as soon as you learn of the attack. Today Armored Access wants to provide you with those necessary actions that should be carried out after a break-in.
If you come home and notice that there has been a break-in before entering the house, then stop and do not go inside. There is a possibility that the burglar is still inside and you want to avoid coming into contact them, as we’ve mentioned in a previous blog. Although some of us may feel anger as a first reaction, the first thing you want to do is call the police. This is not only for your personal safety but also for insurance purposes, and any attempt to deliver justice yourself might hurt your case down the line. If you happen to witness the intruder, write down any information you can as soon as possible. Including how many you saw, type of clothes, age, sex, race, and what direction they went. Calling authorities the moment you realize a break-in has occurred can assist police in connecting details and evidence with other robberies that may have happened in the surrounding neighborhood. Burglars have been known to return to certain neighborhoods, so comparing cases can be very beneficial to solving the crime. The longer you wait to contact police increases the chance of the culprit getting away. Remember to not touch anything until police have arrived. This reduces the chance of you accidentally eliminating potential evidence (i.e. DNA, fingerprints, pieces of clothing). When the police arrive you will have the opportunity to file a report by either going to the station or online. File a report.
After you have spoken with the police and your home has been cleared and inspected, contact your insurance company to file a claim. You want to file a claim within 24 hours of finding out about the burglary. Insurance companies grow suspicious the longer someone waits to file a claim, because although you may be a trustworthy person, some people will try to manipulate items in the home further for a larger claim. Plus, the sooner you file your claim the sooner they can send an agent to your home to asses the damage, and the sooner you can be reimbursed.
If your home is equipped with surveillance cameras, you’ll want to investigate that next. The advantage of having cameras is that they record everything that happened from start to finish; giving you a detailed timeline of what occurred, where your home’s weak point was, and who was in your house. Bonus points if the intruder neglects to cover his face. Outdoor cameras have the advantage of a street view which can help in identifying cars or license plate numbers. The hardest part of a robbery is trying to identify what has been stolen. Cameras are very helpful during this process. If you do not have surveillance, the first step should be taking pictures of everything from the entry point and through the entire home. Do not disturb anything, leave everything as you found it before you take pictures. This will help support your insurance claim. Start a detailed list of everything you notice that is gone and include any identifying characteristics such as stickers, scratches, or marks on an item. Some items like jewelry may be easier to draw than to describe in words. On these lists you should also include the value of individual items. Having the receipts for any items is another huge advantage. The more detail you can include will go a long way. The insurance company will use the information for your claim, and the police will use it to identify any items that they may come across during investigations. After home invasions police will often check public sales or yard sales for stolen items, which can lead to a suspect. To be safe, you should also begin to cancel your credit and debit cards, and checks. Criminals will take old bills or bank statements to try and find out information about your finances, so contacting your bank is an important step. Checking sites like craigslist for any items that have recently gone up for sale could also yield results. You can check local pawn shops as well, they are legally required to hold items for 30 days before selling them because of situations like this.
One thing people tend to overlook is the importance of knowing their surroundings. It’s pretty safe to assume that your neighbors hate the idea of a break-in just as much as you do. It’s also safe to assume, for most people, that there is at least one house on your street that always has someone home. Developing friendly relationships with the people in your neighborhood can build trust and reliance. Your neighbor could be the one that is able to alert police of someone snooping around your property before a break-in even happens. Being able to pick out suspicious people or activities can be very helpful information. Keep note of any suspicious people that you may not recognize hanging out in your neighborhood. It’s possible that they’re simply a new addition to the neighborhood, so take the opportunity to introduce yourself. If your home is burglarized, check with neighbors to see if they noticed anything out of the norm. You would be surprised how much of a difference small details can make.
Your home is a place where you and your loved ones feel safe. Having to experience a burglary in your home can leave you feeling vulnerable and violated. The best thing to do is working to push past this experience. Boarding up or resecuring the point of entry used to get inside should be a priority until someone is able to come and fix it. Leaving any debris like broken glass lying outside can give off the impression that you are still away or staying elsewhere for the time being. If a burglar decides to return it sends a message that you may still be shaken up and not on your best guard. Cleaning up any mess left in the house helps to keep the idea out of mind. Focus on whatever it is that will help you to find comfort in your surroundings again. It will take time to heal, so work on keeping a positive attitude.
Never assume that you don’t have anything worth stealing. It’s simply not true and having that mindset can put you at greater risk. In our previous blog, Why You Should Invest in a Security System, you can find a list of simple tips to making sure your home is secure. Here are a few worth taking into consideration:
Once again we want to extend our appreciation for choosing Armored Access for all your surveillance and security needs. Keep coming back for more facts and information. Call us at (716) 684-8000 or visit our website to find out what you can do to prevent break-ins from happening to you.
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