What to do
if you've
been burgled

Being the victim of burglary is something everyone fears. And even though a great security system is more than enough to put off most burglars, we know there are still some opportunists out there that will try their luck.

Among the emotional distress of someone uninvited in your home and the loss of treasured possessions, it’s hard to think clearly about what to do next. So, here’s our guide on what to do if you’ve been burgled – one step at a time.

What to do first

If you come home to find you’ve been burgled, a million thoughts will race through your head. And, understandably, they won’t be organised into a practical to-do list.

But stop, take a breath, there are a few immediate actions you need to take:

  • Don’t touch anything This is really important. After a burglary your home is a crime scene, so although it’s hard, leave everything as it is until the police have finished their work.
  • Call the police First thing’s first, call 101 to file a report - this is the non-emergency number for the police. Not only could they catch whoever’s responsible, but it’s reassuring to know that they’re on their way. The police will also give you a crime reference number so you can report the break-in to your home insurance company. Here’s what to expect when reporting crime to the police: https://www.gov.uk/your-rights-after-crime
  • Take photos You’ll soon have to supply evidence of any damage you suffered to your insurance company. So, the more photos you take, the better.
  • Review footage Do you have a CCTV camera or smart security system? Now’s the time to take a look at any footage it may have captured. This could be vital to the police case - and for claiming on your home insurance. It’s definitely worth asking around your neighbours too. Check if any of them have CCTV as they could have caught the burglar on the way to or from your home.
  • Make a list of stolen goods Noticed right away that things are missing? Write a list, then try and find evidence of you owning those items. This could be paper or online receipts, bank statements, or even pictures of them. They’ll all come in useful.
  • 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 sooner rather than later, you get on the road to recovering the cost of your possessions and even some of the damage caused by the intruder.
  • Cancel any cards If you have any suspicion that credit cards, debit cards or paperwork that could lead to bank accounts has been taken, don’t hesitate to cancel them.

Over the next few days

Put the pieces back together

After the police and insurance company have got what they need, it’s time to get your home back to normal.

It’s natural to feel upset and anxious when you’re putting things back together. You may want to ask friends and family to help you, or even hire someone to take care of cleaning for you.

Try your best to get back to your regular routine. This isn’t always easy, but with time your house will start to feel like home again.



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’s your first port of call.

If it was a window, you may want to review and make changes to any others with a similar structure. This could be anything from replacing old wooden frames with a sturdier plastic and adding double glazing, to making sure you have window locks that are easy to secure.

With doors you can add deadlocks, bolts and chains to make them harder to break through. It’s also worth replacing or securing any glass panels and moving key racks away from reach should an intruder manage to get their hand through the letterbox.

Try your best to get back to your regular routine. This isn’t always easy, but with time your house will start to feel like home again.

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Review your security

If you don’t already, having a good security system in place is a sure-fire way to deter burglars from even trying to enter your home. The yellow bellbox from ADT, for example, is designed to do just that. It’s a strong, bright and bold visual sign that not only says you’re protected by an alarm, but an alarm that’s monitored 24/7/365.

Change the locks

Even if locks seem secure it’s still a good idea to change them when you’re moving into a new house because you simply don’t know who’s had keys for the property over the years. Check window locks too.

With a third of burglars entering through a window** it's an oversight you can’t afford to make. You can get an idea of an area’s crime rate and the type of crime using our own crime location tool - Crime In My Area. Remember, you can always ask the neighbours or the estate agent about the area too.

House door lock

Explain to the kids

We know that it’s not what burglars take that matters most, but what they leave behind. The emotional effects of someone uninvited in your home is a feeling that lasts long after the valuables have been replaced. As parents, we often think it’s best to shield children from these experiences of crime, but they probably already know more than you think.

Before broaching the situation with children, take care of yourself. Make sure you’re in the right frame of mind and prepared to face the difficult questions kids are bound to ask. And remember, if you’re struggling to explain what’s happened there’s plenty of support out there to help you.

Visit Victim Support for information and advice.

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In the following weeks

Replace your valuables

Depending on your level of cover, your insurance company should reach a settlement with you in the weeks following a burglary. This usually involves covering the cost of the items you need to replace based on things like wear and tear, age and monetary value.

But, once you’ve replaced your possessions, how can you make them less likely to be stolen again?

Blue safe box

Get a safeA safe can go a long way to secure smaller items that are easily stolen, like jewellery, tablets and cameras.

The emotional impact of burglary can be hard. From not feeling safe in your own home to shock and anger at the loss of treasured possessions.

Think about your mental health

As mentioned earlier in the article, the emotional impact of burglary can be hard. From not feeling safe in your own home, to the fear the intruder will return, to shock and anger at the loss of treasured possessions.

It’s important to get how your feeling off your chest. Talk to friends and family, write down your thoughts in a journal or visit a trained counsellor. Make sure you’re looking after your health and wellness and try as much as possible to get back to your normal routine at home.

If you need more support, there are lots of organisations who understand how people feel after crime and are happy to help:

www.victimsupport.org.uk

www.mind.org.uk

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’s the time to look into changing insurer, upgrading and addressing any issues with your coverage, plus making sure all your valuables are included.

When you’ve sorted out the above, be sure to update your inventory with any new items you’ve bought, including serial numbers, makes and models. It’s also good to put aside any paperwork somewhere easy to find should the worst happen again.





Look into victim compensation

If you’ve 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 also have a case if you had to take time off work, suffered emotional distress, were physically injured or had your vehicle stolen.

Find out more about what you can claim for here: www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support/what-you-can-do/compensation

You can claim compensation if you’ve suffered emotional distress, were physically injured or had your vehicle stolen.

In the long term

Tips to avoid burglary in the future

Here are some small changes you can make to your home and lifestyle so it’s less likely you’ll be targeted again by burglars:

  • Make sure you lock up This may seem like an obvious one, but mistakenly leaving a window or door open is the easiest way to entice burglars to try their luck. Do a full sweep before you go out, making sure to lock up your windows from top to bottom, and all your doors too.

    Remind your family know how important this is, you may want to leave a note on the fridge to jog their memory or drop them a message when you know they may be leaving the house.
  • Try out smart tech If you want greater control over your home - knowing who’s in and out, keeping watch over the house and remotely setting and disabling your alarm, ADT Smart Home is a great investment. You can control your home security from your smart devices wherever you are. Find out more about what it can do for you here.
  • Add some gravel If you’re setting out to rob a property you want to be quiet as a mouse. The last thing you want to do is alert the homeowners, neighbours and any pets they may have to your presence.

    So naturally adding gravel to your drive or front yard says one thing to a burglar: noise. More than enough to make most turn tail.
  • Get a window sticker Another simple way to deter an intruder is to get a dog. But even if that’s not on the cards, you can still make it look like you have a yappy pooch that will foil their plans. Simply get a ‘beware of the dog’ sticker and place it in your front window.
  • Don’t leave valuables on display There are lots of tell-tale signs that you may be leaving for burglars that you may not even be aware of. Be careful of things like putting boxes from expensive electrical equipment outside your home, not closing your curtains on an evening and placing expensive TVs and laptops close to windows.
  • Be wary on social Social media is a window into your world, one that burglars will happily look through to see what goodies you have at home. You may think you’re innocently showing friends and family your new laptop, tablet or piece of jewellery, but in reality, you could be making yourself a target.
  • Get to know your neighbours We’ve all heard the song: “everybody needs good neighbours”. But it’s true, especially when it comes to crime. If everyone knows each other and actively looks out for each other, they’re more likely to notice strangers in the area and identify suspicious behaviour. You might also want to look into whether there’s a Neighbourhood Watch scheme nearby.

How can ADT help you?

ADT have been protecting people for over 145 years, giving the peace of mind that the nation deserves.

As well as useful advice pieces like this one, we also have a range of products that can help to stop this from ever happening to you and your family again. Take a look on our site to find what could work for you, then fill in this form to get a free quote from one of our experts.

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