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3 Essential Post-Burglary Tasks

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What should you do if you come home to find it’s been ransacked? Don’t panic; be organized and strategic.

2BThere are three main actions you should take, in the following order:

  • Report and check
  • Clean up
  • Plan ahead

Report the crime and check the home

Your goal here is safety first and then catching the bad guys. The following tips will point you in these directions.

  • If you’re sure your house was robbed before you make entry, do not enter until the police come.
  • Call the police, then check to make sure all occupants are unharmed, starting with the most vulnerable, if the crime took place while you all were present.
  • If you come home to what appears to be a burglary/invasion, immediately call the police once you know you’ve been robbed.
  • Leave the home and seek a safe place like a neighbors or your running car.
  • Don’t linger outside; the burglar/s could still be inside.
  • Don’t assume that the intruders will get away with it because there’s no sign of them. Your stolen property may still be recovered.
  • Do not touch anything until the police arrive.
  • If you’re sure the burglar/s are gone and nobody is hurt, do an inventory of stolen belongings. Create two lists: one for the police and one for your insurance company.
  • Don’t wait longer than 24 hours to file a police report; prompt reporting is necessary for an insurance claim.

Clean up

Burglary and home invasions can have long lasting emotional and traumatic affects on a person. Your goal here is a fresh start so the impact of the robbery doesn’t take over your being. If your home or apartment develops a “black cloud”, then moving may be your only consolation.

  • After the police are finished, clean up. Promptly remove furnishings or appliances that are no longer functional, as these will otherwise serve as reminders of the violation.
  • Alter the rooms where the robbery occurred so that they’re not as much of a conditioned stimulus for fear or anger: repaint the walls, rearrange the furniture, get new curtains.

Plan ahead

Being proactive is the most effective way to avoid being chosen as a victim or to reduce the impact of a burglary.

  • Before being robbed, take photos of valuables; list their model and serial numbers.
  • Ask yourself what you can do to deter another invasion.
  • Assess your house and pretend you’re a burglar. Where are the weak points? Are there areas you’d be able to easily enter?
  • If you don’t have a home alarm system, get one. If you already do, find out why it didn’t stop the invasion. Consider upgrading it.
  • Change all locks.
  • Get shatter-proof window screens.
  • Enroll the entire family (save for preschoolers) in a self-defense program. Don’t assume a gun is your only or best defense.
  • Discuss with law enforcement, locksmiths, your insurance company and security professionals ways to improve your plan.
  • Live happily ever after.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.

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