ADT Security Pro - Home Security Blog

What to do When You have a Break-in : Recent Crime Part 2

Posted by Taniqua Pino on Tue,Apr 26,2016 @ 03:18 PM

***Editor's note, this is part 2 of a 3 part series, to read Part 1 - Recent crime in your community, CLICK HERE***

What_to_do_When_You_have_a_Break-in_Recent_Crime_Part_2.jpg"Of course I knew that a break-in could happen anywhere. I'd think, 'We don't have a lot of expensive things.' or 'It'd be cheaper to replace a few items than to pay for years of an alarm system...'   I thought these things every time I saw a home security commercial...

3 months after I woke up to a burglar in my home, I had to move. It's been 6 more months, we have an alarm now. I now own a gun and have been taking self defense classes for 4 months.  I am slowly replacing my mental security. I wake up thinking that someone could be in my home, near my kids and have to go make sure that everyone is okay.

What he stole was my peace of mind."

-Melnee Johnson

This is how Melnee felt about 9 months after her house was broken into. You can imagine that on the day your home is burglarized, calm and logic might not be your natural reaction.

Here are the steps you need to take immediately after a burglary. 

Number 1: Call the Police

You need to call the police. A calmer, less emotional friend or family member might be the best first call and then you'll need to call the police.

If you arrive home to find a door kicked in, stay outside, call the police. Then call your friend or significant other to come for support . This might even be the time to go grab a Starbucks, regardless of the calories and take some deep breaths and then just wait for the police. If you are already home, don't touch anything. When they get there, be sure to point out things that are moved or out of place as the police enter.

You might believe the police will do absolutely nothing to recover your goods. I have personally been told by police themselves how little they could do in my situation. The chances are better if you've invested in cameras. However, they will take a report, the information goes into a database and even if the police do nothing else there is the chance the burglar will trip up and end up in jail. You are guaranteed to get nothing back if you don't make the report. You also need a report if you intend to file an insurance claim.


Call your insurance company... maybe.

If you are going to make a claim against your homeowners insurance, that call should be high on the priority list. Many policies have a time frame that a claim must be made in.

Now the decision to make a claim or not can be quite the debate. This article by Quotewizard, talks with various insurance specialists about when it is and when it is not profitable to make a claim. Some suggest that if a claim is under $3000 you should carefully consider other factors before making the claim. See the full article if you'd like more information of the different factors. 

All the insurance specialists seem to agree that if you have a claim over $10,000, in most cases, you will want to file a claim AND any costs you incur before your claim is processed should be accounted for as well. So if you do upgrade your strike plate and change the locks and fix a door or window, you'll want to keep those receipts. You'll also want to know if your policy allows you to take your deductible out of the claim amount or if you will need to pay your deductible before they issue you a check. If you have an ADT security system installed and you alarm was armed, they will pay up to $500 of your deductible after a break-in. If that's you, your next phone call might be to ADT.


Number 3: Take measures to better safeguard your home

Believe you me, when someone has found your home, and indirectly, your vulnerable spot, you will want an alarm system. You might think that's alarm company scare tactics saying be afraid and get an alarm, but if you talk to any burglary victim. Prevention is the what you will be seeking! And there's data to support that wisdom. Even though you've already had the break-in. Statistics show that burglars often target a home again in the future. You are going to replace the expensive items they stole and pretty soon, if possible. They know your home now and are that much more comfortable navigating it a second time. They've found some of your hiding places and can probably find more. This blog from Ackerman Security offers 6 main reasons a burglar will return to the scene of the initial crime. It's not just a line on CSI. 

The police will also tell you to consider a home security system if you don't already have one. Most home-owners have thought about a security system at one point or another, many of us just got busy or thought it would never happen, now it has.

Beyond a security system, there are things you can do, relatively inexpensive things to further safeguard your home. Some simple ideas are trimming shrubbery that can provide cover for a burglar to take his time getting into your home.

Motion lights also draw unwanted attention to a would be thief. Since 32% of break-ins are through the front door, it might be worth the $4.79 to upgrade your strike plate. The 3" screws provided with most upgraded strike plates can make the 30 second job of kicking a door in take closer to 5 minutes. That's 4.5 more minutes that a would be thief is sitting in the open making noise and drawing attention. Most will move on to an easier target. Stay tuned for part 3 (now available here) of this series that will cover many more preventative measures to barricade your life and family from local crime. 

Safeguarding your home might also be the logical step if there is a burglary in your neighborhood that wasn't your home. Many communities have similar floor plans on the same streets, the whole area becomes more vulnerable now that a thief has learned about the community. A thief can feel instantly comfortable in a home with the same floor plan he was just in, especially if he got away with the last break-in.


Clean up and repair all signs of the break-in

After the police report is taken and any evidence collected, the task of cleaning up begins. It's an important step. Interviews with multiple ex-burglars show that once a house has been hit in a certain area, a couple things can happen. Some thieves will check back on the house. A home that is still in disarray looks like a good target, if the clean-up isn't done, chances are the home still has the same vulnerability it had at the time of the initial break-in... weak doors, poor window locks, no alarm and probably some new stuff to replace what they took last time.

You can start by cleaning up all signs of the break-in, anything that's been broken, items that were strewn about, markings on your walls or floors, and so on. Board up broken windows or doors if you cannot get repairmen out immediately. The sooner you can get your home back in order, the sooner you can move past the break-in.


Come to terms with the break-in emotionally.

More valuable than material loss is one's mental state. Some will walk away from a break-in unscathed or just angry. Many will have anger and a loss of security or a heightened awareness of vulnerability. Kids especially can have a difficult time putting all this into perspective. It's important to address your needs. A security system is a first step for many, but for most it's just the first step on the road to feeling similar to before this happened. 

The good news it that some come out of a burglary better than before. Some will take a self defense class and realize that there are many things one can do to limit personal and family vulnerabilities and feel grateful to have learned this lesson for a relatively low price. For most, time and taking a few steps to better safeguard against future re-occurances will hasten your steps on the road to recovery.

Surviving a break-in is a personal journey that is different for each person. Beyond the common needs like reporting to police, listing losses, replacing certain items, etc. You will have to decide if you need to spend a day at the shooting range or spend a day at the spa. Either way, be kind to yourself. Your heightened awareness of how this nasty crime affects people might even spur you on to join or start a neighborhood watch if you are not already a participant.

Whatever path your journey points you too, and from someone who has presoannly experiences the process, be kind to yourself and family and get whatever help you need! 

If you missed part 1 of the series: Recent Crime in Your Community: Recent Crime Part 1, it's a great read to find out how-to stay in touch with recent crime in your own community. Several sites collect this data and some will even send you updates as things happen to your mobile device.  

In part 3 Prevent Crime: You need a well rounded security plan -  find steps to prevent a burglary, home invasion or theft. That's right, prevent it!

If you are interested in more information about home security systems or a FREE basic home security system, click at the left for your 5 initial steps to protect your family or click below to schedule your own FREE home security review. 


As always, we'd love your feedback, comment below and let us know how we are doing or it you have a topic you'd like us to write about. And to sign up and recieve more educational stories like this, subscribe here. 


Tags: California Crime