One of the worst things that could ever happen to a homeowner is a burglary or house break-in. A break-in not only physically robs you of your precious belongings, it also steals that sense of security and privacy you have within the walls of your abode. While it’s never easy to move on after a burglary, there are ways to prevent another theft and, help you feel at ease again.
- Get help! Don’t chase the thief yourself.
Your emotions can swing from disbelief, frustration, and rage when you discover that you’ve been robbed. Fight the instinct to rush into the house in an attempt to catch the burglar. Although most thieves will run away once there’s someone nearby, some will attempt to hide inside the house. Leave the premises and call the police. Wait inside your car or at a neighbor’s house while help arrives. Leaving the crime scene saves you from a possible violent confrontation with the burglar, and also preserves traces of evidence.
- Document everything. Take note of what’s missing.
As soon as it’s safe to enter the house, make an inventory of the missing items. Comb through each room, including the storage room and garage. Take pictures of each section, especially areas where valuables were taken or have been damaged, plus the entry and exit points of the intruders. If you have a closed-circuit television (CCTV) installed, review the footage and submit a copy to the authorities for the police report.
- Call your insurance company.
After the police report and documentation, call your insurance agent within 24 hours to file a claim. Reliable non-life insurance products like Malayan Insurance Co. Inc.’s Home Protect Plus can help you recover from the financial losses of your stolen or broken belongings, and damages to the property itself. Home Protect Plus policy holders can call Malayan’s 24-hour hotline for assistance or they can conveniently submit their claim form and supporting documents online at https://malayan.com/.
- Tidy up and put things in order.
Cleaning up the wreckage and removing all traces of the break-in is the first step to regain a feeling of privacy and security in your household. Before you tidy up, have your children stay with relatives or friends to shield them from the shock. Start your clean-up operations by fixing structural damages like broken windows, doors, locks and gates. Doing so will give you a feeling of security even if you’re sifting through debris. You can also consider rearranging furniture to give your space a refreshing look.
- Build up your defenses.
Upgrade the locks of doors and windows to improve home security. Install double locks on each main door, and bigger strike plates. Ensure that the property is well-lit and, if possible, install CCTVs. If you won’t be home for a long time, don’t leave telltale signs that your place is empty. Ask a friend or neighbor to collect packages or bills on your behalf so they won’t be scattered on the entryway, making it obvious that no one’s home. You can also install lights that automatically switch on at night to make it seem like someone’s in the premises.
- Keep a low profile.
Everyone loves getting the latest appliances or gadgets, even burglars. So, if you’re buying and installing a new TV, gaming system, or laptop, make sure those items aren’t visible outside. If passersby can easily see your valuables through your windows, they can be easily spotted by thieves, too. Avoid announcing new purchases by cutting up the packaging into smaller pieces. More importantly, be wary of what you post on social media. Thieves are tech savvy now, and can stalk you on social media. They can memorize the layout of your home, make note of your belongings, and break-in when you’re livestreaming across town.
House break-ins are crimes of opportunity. The more cautious, prepared and equipped your household is against burglars, the lesser chances that intruders will trespass and steal from your space.