Nobody wants their home to be broken into, and truthfully, it’s not usually something we expect to happen. For that reason, a home robbery isn’t generally an event we plan for. Sure, you might have homeowners insurance that covers many of the items in your home, but insurance is not enough to protect you and your family from a robbery.
Whether you are at home, at school or work, or on vacation at the time your home gets broken into, there are critical steps you must take to ensure that not only is the current situation dealt with but that any home robberies in the future can also be prevented.
Regardless of whether or not you have experienced a home robbery to date, it’s important that you know what you should do during and afterward to ensure your family and belongings can stay safe and sound.
- Call the police.
The first thing to do during or after a home robbery is call the police. If you are at home during the midst of the home invasion, you may be able to utilize Text-to-911. This service allows victims to text instead of call 911 during emergencies when they are unable to speak. However, this service is only able in select regions.
If you walk into your home and see that the place has been robbed and aren’t sure if the perpetrator is still in your home, leave, go to a neighbor’s home, and then call the police. Even if you know the suspect has already taken off, calling the police is still critical.
Provide the police with as much information as you possibly can. These professionals will check your home for the suspect(s), patrol the surrounding areas, collect evidence, and track down the suspect(s).
Even if the police are unable to find who invaded your home, reporting such an event can alert police that your neighborhood might be a prime location for crime, and thus, might require more patrolling to prevent future break-ins.
- Document everything.
Even if you’re stressed with the entire home robbery, it’s vital that you take the time to document everything you possibly can. While the police will collect evidence, your own documentation will also be vital.
Apart from taking photographs or even video footage of the damage done inside and/or outside of your home, it’s important that you document the approximate date and time you believe the robbery occurred, your interactions with police, and what items are missing or damaged. If you have video cameras, save the footage of the robbery.
Even months later, make sure to keep this documentation for legal- and insurance-related purposes. It can certainly come in handy in the future.
- Look for your pets.
Regardless of how the burglar broke into your home, chances are, there is a door, gate, or window somewhere in or near your home that is broken or left open. Therefore, this might be an easy escape for your pets to break loose.
After you’ve called the police and began documenting the evidence and other information you’ve collected, it’s important that you search for your pets. Your furry friends could have taken off because they were approached by a stranger (i.e., the burglar) or merely because they saw a gate or door open.
If and when you are able to locate your pets, make sure to check them for wounds and injuries. Before you further investigate your home, temporarily place your pets in a safe room that is completely closed in, has food and water and a place to use the bathroom, and doesn’t have shards of glass or other dangerous broken items present.
If your pets cannot be located, call local shelters, ask neighbors, and post “missing pet” signs around your town. If your pets are injured when you find them, visit or schedule an appointment at a general or emergency veterinary clinic as soon as you can.
- Call your insurance company and bank.
Sooner than later, it’s important to get in touch with your insurance company. Not only do you only have a certain time frame to report the event to your insurance company, but reporting it sooner also means you can get more information on properly documenting all information regarding the robbery and making claims.
If you believe your credit or debit cards, be sure to also contact your bank to have those cards canceled or your accounts temporarily frozen, even if you aren’t certain your cards were stolen. This will be much easier than later having to settle numerous claims for expenses you did not make if your cards were taken and used by the burglar.
The longer you wait to do the latter two things, the less likely things may end up working out in your favor. Reporting as soon as possible can ensure progress occurs faster, and it also means less stress on you.
- Get new locks on your doors.
There are many ways a burglar can enter your home. Maybe the front door was unlocked or they pick-locked a door, broke open a window, or maybe they even had a key. Regardless of the method, it’s a good idea to get new locks on your doors after a robbery for added security.
With a new set of door locks, you and your family will feel safer at night knowing that their home will be more difficult for a burglar to break into with upgraded, harder-to-pick locks. After all, it’s always a good idea to get your door locks switched out after approximately seven years anyways as they may eventually go out.
If you’re looking to have your locks upgraded quickly after a home break-in, check out Texas Premier Locksmith for services and prices.
- Opt for a home security system.
Whether you stay at home most of the time or frequently travel, it’s vital that you have a quality home security system set in place to catch burglars or even deter prospective burglars. Even if no robberies occur throughout the entire time you own your home, you can never be so sure, but a security system can always give you peace of mind.
Most home security systems not only record the inside and/or outside of your home but can also send alerts to your phone if a potential unwanted visitor is detected, so you can act on the burglary even while it’s happening. Many home security systems also feature an alarm system that can scare off burglars who break into your home.
Apart from adding a security system to your home, check out this website for more information on keeping your home safe and secure after a home invasion takes place.
- Inform your children what to do if a home robbery occurs while they are at home.
Especially if you have children at home, it’s a good idea to talk with them about the robbery. Let them know that it’s okay to feel sad or angry, but teach them positive ways to deal with the situation on a mental and emotional level.
Besides helping your children deal with the the post-trauma of the home robbery, make sure they are aware of what to do in an emergency like this, especially if they are home at the time. Instruct them to hide in a closet or under a bed, stay quiet, whisper-call or text 911 if they have a phone nearby, stay calm, and don’t resist the burglar’s demands.
Having a gameplan set in place can ensure your little ones will feel more confident and safe during a robbery if it occurs in the future. Dealing with robberies is not always common sense as it can be a very scary situation, even for a grown adult.
If you don’t have children, be sure to still communicate with the rest of your household regarding what to do in emergencies, including in the case of a home invasion.
- Don’t be afraid to see professional help for your trauma.
Even if you were not there to witness the invasion, you may suffer from short- or long-term trauma in the form of depression, anxiety, extreme stress, or even anger. For some people, they may experience a combination of the latter.
While it’s normal to feel the latter when your home gets broken into and robbed, what isn’t normal is when your acute stress reaction and temporary emotional turmoil turn into a severe, long-term, or even permanent mental or emotional distress. Those with current or past mental health problems may be at risk for the latter.
Even if your trauma is not textbook “severe,” you may still require assistance to get over your trauma in a healthy manner, regardless of your age, gender, and mental health history. Talking with a counselor, therapist, or psychologist or even joining a support group can be of big help for many individuals.
If you are not able to afford professional help at this time, the Voice for the Victims & Witnesses has some helpful tips for coping with emotional trauma after a home robbery.
Dealing with a home robbery can be hectic whether you are home at the time or not. Apart from dealing with the anger and sadness of having your beloved belongings stolen and/or damaged, you also have to deal with filing a police report, getting coverage from your insurance company for loss and damage, and securing your home.
Apart from the latter, it’s also important that you document all information you can, call your bank if you have stolen cards, locate your pets and check their bodies for injuries, come up with a game plan with your children in case a home robbery occurs in the future, and even seek professional help if you’re struggling with trauma after the event.
In the end, home robberies can be devastating, but knowing what to do and training yourself to properly react to the situation can help lead to a better outcome.