In order to both secure your home against future robberies and recover lost possessions, there are a number of steps that you should take in the immediate aftermath of discovering you’ve been robbed. These are as follows.
1. Ensure no one is hurt
First things first, ensure that nobody is hurt. While the majority of burglaries are non-violent, it is best to check on your immediate family members if they are home and assess their well-being. It is entirely possible that they weren’t even aware of an intruder, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. It is recommended that you tend to the youngest first, as they are more susceptible to emotional trauma.
2. Call the police & file a report
Call the police and file a report. This should preferably be done within the first hour of discovering that you have been robbed. There is a chance that the thief may still be in the area, so it is best to call the police as soon as possible if you are to have any hope of recovering your lost possessions or preventing any more thefts.
3. Complete a list of everything stolen or damaged
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, check your belongings to make a complete list of everything that was stolen or damaged (insofar as you can). Try your hardest to not touch anything more than is absolutely necessary, as doing so may tamper with important evidence. It is recommended that you create two lists of everything that was taken, one for the police and one for your insurance company.
4. Get a crime reference number
Get a crime reference number from the police. This will be very helpful when it comes to making a claim to your insurance provider.
5. Contact your insurance provider
Contact your insurance provider. Call within 24 hours after submitting all the necessary information to the police. They will need that information from the police to process and verify your claim.
6. Clean you house
Once approved by the police, clean your house of all signs of the break-in. This is the first step to physically and mentally recovering from an incident such as a burglary.
7. Review you home security system
Review your home security and make adjustments where necessary. You should always change your locks as soon as possible after a burglary as a precaution, especially if there were no signs of forced entry. Other good ideas if you don’t already have them are motion sensor lights, burglar alarms and security cameras. Dogs are also highly successful at deterring would-be thieves.
Prepare yourself emotionally. Break-ins can leave people feeling violated and unsafe, especially if you were home during the break-in. Our homes are our private property, and thieves entering your property are a violation of your privacy. It is ok to be upset or scared after such an event, and if you are feeling that way then it is best to seek the help of a trusted family member, neighbour or even a neighbourhood watch member if there is one.
How to talk to your children about a robbery
Children, especially young children, may not fully understand the ramifications of a burglary or a home invasion. They may not react at all, or they may display visible signs of distress, such as crying, bad dreams and bed wetting. Do not ignore these concerns and hope that they get over it. It is important to talk to your children and reassure them that everything is okay.
Children will also naturally look to you for guidance, so it is best for them that you get back to your regular routine as soon as possible. According to experts, children between the ages of 5 and 7 typically go through a stage where a home invasion is one of their worst fears, so a break-in can be damaging for them as if confirms one of their worst fears. Therefore it is important that you don’t let the burglary control your family and your life, and for you to get back to your regular routine so they don’t become consumed with the idea of a burglar returning.
Other methods to help your child cope with a burglary include showing them firsthand the new security measures you’ve taken to prevent future burglaries, or getting a dog, which along with the ability to deter burglars, also provide emotional support for both you and your children.
Older children are more adept at handling the situation, but there may be some visible symptoms that they are struggling to cope, such as a lack of or excessive sleep, insomnia, withdrawing from activites and a turn-down in academic performance. In such cases it is important that you encourage them to discuss with someone how the event made them feel, rather than bottling it up inside.
And of course ensure that you have adequate home and contents insurance to help you recover financially from the loss. Here are somme tips on working out how much contents insurance you need. And here are some tips on calculating the amount of home insurance you might need.