What to do if your home is broken in to
With ONS data predicting a spike in crime expected in the summer months, and the average burglary costing victims nearly £3,000 according to research, experts have given advice on what to do when you are a victim of burglary.
Officers in England and Wales have met a target to attend every domestic burglary scene, but discovering a burglary in your home can affect a homeowner's mental health.
With that in mind, the home security experts at ADT have offered advice on what steps to take before and after the police arrive, and offered tips on how to stay safe in the future.
Michele Bennett, General Manager at ADT UK&I Subscriber says: “If you come home to find you’ve been burgled, a million thoughts will race through your head, but stop, take a breath, and take these immediate actions.”
Don't touch anything
Although it is hard, do not touch anything until the police have finished their work. After a burglary, your home is a crime scene, and touching or moving items can disrupt evidence.
Call the police
Call 101 to file a report. This is the non-emergency number for the police. Not only could the police catch whoever is responsible, but it is also reassuring to know that they are on their way. The National Police Chiefs’ Council have recently committed to attending all home burglaries and will help support victims after a traumatic and invasive experience. The police will also give you a crime reference number so you can report the break-in to your home insurance company.
Take photos and review the footage
Photos and videos can be used to supply evidence of any damage you have suffered to your insurance company. Footage could also be vital to the police case. It is worth asking your neighbours if they have any CCTV as they could have caught the burglar on the way to or from your home.
Make a list of stolen goods
Write a list of things that are missing and find evidence of you owning those items. This could be paper or online receipts, bank statements or even pictures of them.
Contact your insurance company
It’s time to call your home insurance company. Make sure you have your insurance policy number and crime reference number to hand - you’ll be asked for these. By doing this immediately, you get on the road to recovering the cost of your possessions and even some of the damage caused by the intruder.
Cancel your cards
If you have any suspicion that credit cards, debit cards or paperwork that could lead to bank accounts have been taken, do not hesitate to cancel them.
Michele continues: “You may feel upset and anxious over the next few days, which is completely natural. Try your best to get into a regular routine. This may not be easy, but with time your house will start to feel like home.”
Put the pieces back together
You may want to ask friends and family to help you, or even hire someone to take care of cleaning for you if you find it too difficult to do it yourself.
Secure your home
Cleaning up is one thing, securing your home is another entirely. You’ll know the point of entry by now, so that is your first port of call. If it was a window, you should review and make changes to any others with a similar structure. With doors, you can add deadlocks, bolts and chains to make them harder to break through.
Review your security
If you don’t already, having a good security system in place is a surefire way to deter burglars from trying to enter your home.
Change your locks
Even if locks seem secure, it is still a good idea to change them when moving into a new house as you simply don’t know who’s had keys for the property over the years. Check window locks too.
In the following weeks
Replace your valuables
Depending on your level of coverage your insurance company should reach a settlement with you in the weeks following a burglary.
Amend your insurance
When you claimed on your insurance you may have noticed loopholes that meant you didn’t get what you thought you were entitled to. Now is the time to look into changing insurers, upgrading and addressing any issues with your coverage, plus making sure all your valuables are included.
Once sorted, be sure to update your inventory with any new items you’ve bought, including serial numbers, makes and models.
Look into victim compensation
If you have been a victim of crime, you may be entitled to compensation. For example, if you’ve had to pay for property damage after a burglary and the perpetrator is caught you have the right to press charges and claim that money back through the courts.
You could have a case if you had to take time off work, suffered emotional distress, were physically injured or had your vehicle stolen.
Further information is available here.