Being burgled is a traumatising experience that can leave and your family feeling unsafe in your own home. As expert Locksmiths we have created our top tips on how you can restore your home security to help you and your family feel safe.
What to do immediately following a break in
Signs that someone has gained entry to your home are easy to spot; forced opened doors and windows, broken glass, and valuables scattered across the floor. Your first instinct may be to investigate and clean up, but we strongly advise against this, first things first, you need to call the police.
Contact the police
We suggest going to a safe spot, like your car or a neighbour’s house*, and contacting the police to report a break in. If it is not an emergency, for example if your life is not in danger, then we suggest calling the police on 101 and not 999. However if you are concerned that there might be people still in your home then we suggest calling 999 for emergency services.
Take account of your missing items
When the police arrive, they will take evidence and statements, ask if anyone saw anything and what items you think might be missing. They then will compile a report and give you a case number; you may want to jot down this number as it can be needed for insurance claims etc and will help you to keep track of your case.
Take pictures of your house, any broken windows or doors and any valuable items. This will help later down the line as more evidence you can supply, the more your case is strengthened.
Call a Locksmith
Once the police have given you the all clear, it is time to call a Locksmith. Professional Locksmiths are experts in replacing and repairing broken locks and to some extent doors and windows, however if it is a job beyond repair then a Locksmith can secure your property for you by boarding up and securing any broken doors and windows until you can have them replaced.
When you call out a Locksmith, we always suggest consulting with them to find out what are the best security locks for your home and what benefits they hold. Not all locks are created equal, so having a higher security lock installed will help you to regain some feeling of safety. Also ask them about their suggestions of home security and what they think can be done to your property to minimise the risk of the incident reoccurring.
To find out more about Emergency Boarding Up and Burglary Repairs.
What to do within 24 hours of a break in
Unfortunately, when a break in happens some of the after events have time limits on and although a traumatic experience there are a few things you must do as soon as possible.
Make a list
The police would have asked you about any large ticket items in your home when they came to the scene, but it is always best to try and create a list of all the items stolen. This could be valuable pieces of jewellery, large electronic items or personal effects like credit cards or passports.
When creating the list, try to find any receipts that can prove when you bought the item and how much, and take note of how long you have had the item and it’s estimated worth.
Call your insurance
Your insurance provider will usually have a process that you need to follow to make a claim, whether it is home or contents. As said before, the more evidence you have, the stronger your case and the more likely to be accurately compensated. Some insurance policies have time limits on when you need to make first contact to make a claim so as soon as possible is always the best policy, even if you just notify them.
For damage to your home, such as broken windows and doors, they might send someone out to access the damage but anything you have had to do to secure your home like boarding up or repairs can often be claimed back assuming you have an accurate invoice and can provide evidence of the damage beforehand.
Call your bank
Although you may not always know what has been stolen, it is always best to contact your bank and make them aware you have been victim to a burglary and to flag any suspicious activity on your account.
Contact credit reporting agencies
Ask for a security alert that will create a red flag for any lenders. This means that should a burglar gotten access to your private information, it will prevent them from opening credit cards and loans in your name.
Securing your home to prevent further break ins
Protecting your home from further crime is the most important step it helps to give you some peace of mind that your home is secured. Burglars are known to revisit the scene of the crime, because their logic is if they can get in once they can do it again. Hence, we highly suggest that you take some pre-emptive steps to ensure that you are not a target.
Install better locks
Like explained before, no lock is made equal, there are some locks that have better security features and burglar deterrents that can help to deter those targeting your house making it more difficult for them to enter your home. Updating the security on your home doesn’t only make you feel better, but also puts out a signal to burglars that you’ve taken steps to make yourself a harder target and therefore are a higher risk to try and break into.
Install motion activated lights
Dark spots around your home and garden are perfect places for someone to hide, so reduce that risk by placing motion sensor lights around the exterior of your home to illuminate entry points. This increases the risk that someone burgled will been seen or get caught thus making you a less attractive target.
Look into getting a security system
Items such as security cameras and burglar alarms are not only great systems to give the confidence that your home is safe but also are great visual deterrents to put off would be burglars. At the end of the day making yourself a less appealing target to ill wishers is the best way to prevent crime and keep your home secure.
If you would like to find out more about our security suggests, head to our Home Security Guide where you can find all the answers to your security questions and the best security tips from expert Locksmiths.
*Depending on government restrictions