According to the Central Statistics Office (www.cso.ie) house burglaries have been on the rise year on year. In 2012 there were 28,000 recorded burglaries across Ireland. If you become the target of a home burglary, it’s perfectly normal go through a wide range of feelings. It can leave you feeling vulnerable, upset, angry, and afraid.
The most important thing is to keep calm and start the process of reporting the incident and catching the person or people involved. In some situations it is even possible to recover what was taken from you. It is also a perfect time to take stock and make sure it doesn’t happen to you again.
The following is a guide to what you should do if you become the unfortunate victim of a burglary.
Report the Incident
The very first thing you should do if you find your home has been burgled is to leave the premises and call 112. The reason for this is that there’s a chance the burglar could still be inside your home. You do not know how the burglar will react when they see you. They could get very aggressive towards you so it’s smartest to get to safety first and let the Gardaí handle it rather than try to be a hero against a startled criminal. In addition to the potential danger of surprising a criminal, you also risk tainting any evidence they may leave behind. Once the Gardaí arrive, let them clear the house for safety, investigate the scene. Afterwards, you can help them file a detailed report of what happened.
Check your home for missing items
You should create a detailed list of everything that was stolen or damaged. This list should include the estimated value of each item. In the best case scenario you will have prepared a home inventory list in advance. It is also a good idea to note any serial numbers on the items so that if they are taken, they can be linked back to you if found by the Gardaí. The ability to produce photographs and receipts that prove ownership of items will also help speed up the recovery process.
File a claim
The next thing you should do is get in contact your insurance provider as soon as possible and file a claim for any lost or damaged property and items. If the burglar smashed a window, broke a sliding door, or otherwise caused damage by forcing entry, an adjuster can help estimate the repair costs. Again, using a detailed list of the items taken or damaged will help speed up the claims process. Your insurance agent will be able to help guide you through the rest of the process until you receive the settlement you deserve.
Take preventive measures
The last, but by no means least, thing you should do is take preventative measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This could mean installing a home security alarm system, deadbolt locks on doors and windows, and other safety features such as motion detecting spot lights or even cameras. Even something simple like having a “No trespassing” or “Beware of dog” sign could help put off potential burglars.
Keep a light or two on at all times to make it seem like someone is always home. If you are going to be away from you home for an extended period, such as a holiday, arrange with your neighbours to pick up you post and maybe even open and close your curtains while you’re away. The idea is to make it seem as though you are still at home and not away. You should NEVER talk about your comings and goings on social media. This can be seen in the same light as opening your front door and inviting a burglar in to rob your home.
Your aim in doing all of this is simply to make you home a more difficult target.
It will take time to overcome the fear and other emotions you experience after a break-in. But dealing with the immediate problems and then doing some long-term planning can help put your mind at ease.
We have previously written a blog on how you can prevent your home from being burgled. Have a read of it and consider implementing some of the points in it. Some of the points are simple things that you can do straight away. You can find it here.