The dreaded has happened. You have been the victim of a home burglary. Now what?
Home break-ins are never a pleasant experience, but hang in there. There is light at the end of this tunnel. You can make the situation a little easier by arming yourself with the right knowledge regarding house break-ins. Knowing what to do if your house is broken into can turn a catastrophic event into a manageable complication.
We spoke with a police officer in the Indianapolis area who offered the following insight into what happens when you report a house break-in and other burglary safety tips:
First things first. If you realize your home has been broken into and you haven’t yet gone inside—don’t. Our officer advises that victims should:
“Remain calm and stay out of the residence until officers arrive and clear it. If you see or hear anyone inside, leave immediately. Your safety is paramount.”
It’s a good idea to wait until officers arrive before even entering your home, if possible.
However, it’s not always obvious that a burglary has occurred. Often, intruders will only disturb things inside the home and you may not realize you have fallen victim until you enter and take a look around. In that case, our source with the police department recommends that you immediately ensure the intruder is gone and the burglary is not still taking place. Otherwise, get to safety.
Call the police immediately and have your personal information handy. You will likely be connected to a dispatcher. The dispatcher will help determine if there is immediate danger and take your identification information.
When reporting the burglary, it is important that you correctly report the crime. Often, callers use the word “robbed” when they refer to burglaries. Our source with the police department recommends that you correctly report the crime to help expedite the process: “Please don't say, ‘I was robbed!’
You will want to take note of whether there has been forced entry. Below are a few questions to consider:
Pay attention to any areas around your home that might have provided cover for a house burglar seeking entry.
Try to remember as closely as possible when you left and when you returned. You can report this information to help the police determine a timeline.
Next, you will need to begin taking inventory of stolen items. Our source with the police recommends that you take a look at dangerous items first. Have any firearms or weapons been stolen? Are any prescriptions missing?
Now, start documenting other items that have been taken. Note the approximate value of each item. You should avoid touching things as much as possible. Leave the area as it is until a police officer can come in and evaluate the situation. Try to gather any kind of identifying information about stolen items. Serial numbers for electronics or pictures of any missing jewelry or other valuables is helpful. This information is especially important when firearms have been stolen.
It’s difficult to know what to do when your house is broken into. Unfortunately, you will likely have to remain vigilant long after the dust has settled. Our police source urges victims to continue to do the following in the months after a break-in:
Keeping an eye on these items could be the key to minimizing further damage. Our police source offers this advice to victims: ”Always lock your residence and vehicle doors. Even if you're only going to be gone a few minutes. Don't advertise on social media if you are going to be out of town. If you feel comfortable, let your neighbors know if you are going to be out of town so they can keep an eye on your place. Deterrence is key.”
While break-ins are never pleasant situations, knowing how to report home burglary can help you manage the situation as painlessly as possible.