What To Do After a Home or Office Break-in
A home or office break-in is never a pleasant experience. Most people who have been victims of a break-in describe it as traumatic and stress-inducing. Often, people are in shock and do not know what to do after their home or office has been broken into. In this article, discover what to do after your home has been broken into and how to secure your property in the future.
What Do I Do After a Break-in?
1. Contact the police
The first thing you should do after your home or office is broken into is contact the police. Once you notice the security breach, avoid touching anything. Simply step outside, away from your property, which has become a crime scene, and contact the authorities.
2. Go over your security footage
If you have cameras installed, they can help you identify who the burglar is. Go over the footage with the police and take note of sudden movements and people captured.
3. Take inventory of your valuables
This is a step that most victims carry out first. However, you need to stop yourself from taking stock immediately when you discover there has been a burglary. Once the police have come in and taken all the fingerprints they need, take note of what is missing. If any of your appliances have been destroyed, photograph them so your insurance can cover them. Cash and jewelry are the most looted items so check any safes you have in the house. Burglars have also been known to take drugs, both illegal and prescription, so check your medicine cabinets too. Over time, document whatever you notice missing, and for larger items, make sure you have the receipts to present.
4. File an insurance claim
Ensure you contact your insurance provider within 24 hours. Most companies require a police report to complete the claim, but it’s good to let the company know early enough.
5. Clean up the mess
As hard as it might be, do not clean up until you get the go-ahead from both the police and tour insurance provider. Once they are both satisfied, carefully clean your property and make sure you take note of anything that could be used as evidence.
6. Audit the security of your property
There is always a weak point with all security systems, one aspect that isn’t considered and can wreak a lot of havoc. Try to observe what aspect that is. How did the burglar gain access? Replace all broken or weak doors and windows. Check out your door locks and install deadbolts where necessary. You can even go a step further by inviting a locksmith to look at your home’s security setup. Make sure you have a complete set of keys and quickly replace any lock missing a key.
How Do I Secure My Home or Office After a Break-in?
Moving on after a break-in is hard work. Nobody wants to live or work in an environment where they constantly feel like a target.
Here are a few steps you can take to secure your home or office after a break-in:
1. Ensure that your doors and windows are locked
Most burglars gain entry via an open window, or a door left unlocked. Whenever you have to leave your home, make sure that all doors and windows are locked. At the close of work, ensure that the janitor or caretaker securely locks the office doors and windows.
2. Put up a beware of dogs sign
As little as it might seem, the presence of a dog might make some burglars hesitate to enter your property. This is not a long-term solution but is helpful in the first few weeks after a burglary.
3. Install a security camera
Believe it or not, security cameras are a lifesaver and a worthy investment. If you do not already have a camera, invest in installing one. A visible camera has been known to deter burglars on certain occasions even.
4. Get motion-activated lights
Motion-activated lights detect movement around your property at night, causing them to turn on. Lights suddenly coming on will startle most burglars and send them running.
5. Lock up your valuables
Most home burglars head straight to the masters’ bedroom to check for valuables. If you have any jewelry, family heirlooms, or weapons that might interest burglars, invest in a safe.
Where Do Burglars Look First?
If you want to keep your valuables safe from burglars, you first need to understand how their minds work. Many burglars are repeat offenders, and they have specific spots they check first when they break into a property.
Most thieves develop a routine, looking through different areas and locations where they know you have hidden items of value. Many people hide their valuables in the same places or areas in their homes, so where do burglars look first?
Burglars will often check living rooms, master bedrooms, offices, and studies. They also go ahead to ransack obvious places such as dressers, cupboards, drawers, closets, and safes. Unusual hiding places such as vases, pots, pans, and even freezers are not left out.
Do Burglars Mark Houses?
Nobody fantasizes about being watched. It is one of the most unsafe feelings in the world. Unfortunately, if you pay close attention, you might discover some odd behaviors which will tip you off to the fact that a potential burglar is marking your home.
Telltale signs of this happening are sighting unfamiliar cars or people around your neighborhood or in front of your home. Another sign of marking is a random knock on your door. This knocking is a manner of confirming whether you have an alarm system or a dog they’ll trigger if they break in.
You may also observe little pockets of vandalism, a broken window, or a door missing a panel. The final sign is finding your trash scattered about or rummaged through. This could simply mean someone is searching for enough information about whether or not you are a good target.
Do Burglars Come Back After a Failed Attempt?
Contrary to common belief, burglars do target the same location twice. Most times, burglars believe if they can rob a house once, they can do it again. However, many become paranoid after a failed attempt, fearing returning and getting caught.
Seasoned criminals are more likely to return with the confidence of succeeding and making it out unnoticed.
The truth is, most burglars are simply opportunists that search for the tiniest vulnerabilities in your security and take advantage of them. The moment they observe your property is an easy target, and they are more likely to return and even tell other burglars about it.
Typically, if a burglar fails at breaking into your house, you feel a bit of relief. However, you should get your guard up because there is a high chance that the burglars will return with a better plan to redeem themselves. The burglars had a solid reason for targeting your home or office in the first place, and they are most likely to return with a better plan. Unless the burglar leaves behind some sort of proof that can result in their getting caught, they are very likely to strike again.
How Can I Discourage Break-ins?
There are a couple of steps you can take to discourage burglars from breaking into your home or office. Some of these precautions include:
- Ensure all doors and windows are locked before you leave the house/office and before you go to bed
- Make sure your garage door is closed and locked at all times.
- If you are going away for an extended period, arrange for your lawn to be mowed. An unbowed lawn is a clear sign that no one is home.
- Avoid sharing your vacation plans on social media.
- Make your home appear occupied as this will make it less attractive to robbers.
- While you are away, have a neighbor pick up any deliveries of newspapers and mails, so they do not pile up outside your door.
- Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors instead of push-button locks. Deadbolts are a lot more difficult to break into
- If you have sliding doors, talk to your locksmith about special locks for better security.
- Make sure your basement and garage windows have curtains.
- Store bicycles, lawnmowers, and barbecues out of sight.
- Avoiding leaving your keys in flowerpots, mailboxes, doormats, and other places you consider “secret” hiding places. Most burglars are familiar with these spots and will likely find whatever you feel you have hidden away.
- Trim the shrubs around your house so they do not become cover for burglars.
- Maintain a detailed inventory of all your valuables and store a copy outside your home. If you have any family heirlooms or antiques, make videos or take photos of them to have evidence to present to the insurance company and the police in case of any incidents.
- Look into installing a burglar alarm system.
To avoid a home or office break-in, you to ensure your locks are working perfectly. Fixing your door lock problems does not have to be complicated. When you work with a professional, you can get exceptional service, even in the case of an emergency.
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