House break-ins are on the rise. According to a recent report, 1 in 3 adults have been victims of crime, 42 % of which were burglaries. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience someone breaking into your home, what action should you take?
If you arrive home and there is evidence of breaking and entering, it’s crucial you call the police and don’t enter the property. It’s likely the perpetrator has left, but you shouldn’t risk it. If you entered your house before you were aware of the break-in, try not to touch anything. Investigating police will need fingerprints and items around the home could provide vital evidence needed to catch the criminal.
When the police arrive, and you can safely move around your home, make a list of all items that are missing. Include as much detail as you can. Take photos of damages as these will be important for claiming on your contents insurance. You’ll also need to file a police report, and this will be needed for your claim. You can also watch the camera footage if your home has security.
Secure the Property
If your home is damaged and doors or windows are broken, you should prioritise securing the house. If necessary, stay at a friend’s house for a few days whilst you organise refittings, etc. You can contact a local company by searching a term such as windows Sutton Coldfield for a quote for new doors or windows that are secure and safe. As a temporary measure, you may need to board up windows or doors until they can be replaced.
If you have lost a lot of items or they’re damaged beyond repair, you will need to make an insurance claim. Make sure you do it as soon a possible after the incident as there is usually a cut-off date.
Send photographs of damaged items and details of stolen ones. Don’t throw anything away; you may need it as evidence. They may also want to come and assess the property, so be sure to show them the damage and talk to them directly about stolen items.
It can be intimidating dealing with the insurance company, and they invariably won’t want to make a payout, so prepare yourself and be assertive.
Once all the practical tasks are out of the way, you may feel emotionally drained. When a stranger breaks into your home, it’s a violation of privacy and a traumatic experience. You have been a victim of crime, and it’s okay to feel vulnerable and fearful. Even if you feel you have dealt with the incident, symptoms of PTSD may still manifest themselves. You must talk to someone you trust, and if symptoms continue, see your GP, who can refer you to a mental health professional. Talking to a specialist will help you process what happened and suggest ways to overcome negative thinking and calm down the nervous system.
Criminal activity is not uncommon. If you have suffered a burglary, be kind to yourself and allow time to recover. Share your feelings, and with time you will feel safe once again.