You come home and notice your stuff on the floor...then you see broken glass...and next you notice the window on the back door is shattered. Your heart starts to race, you start sweating and you begin to feel like you are going to get sick. You don't want to believe it, but you've been burglarized. And you say to yourself, "This expletive sucks."
It does suck. And it just might have been prevented if you had a home security system.
Anyway, this is what you do upon discovering a burglary:
- Get out: Leave your home immediately. The criminal might still be in the house. Consider him or them armed and dangerous.
- Call 911: Use your mobile to get the police on the line, quick. Let them come there and secure your home to make sure it's safe. But don't use your landline because in some cases, police may want to dust your home phone. It's rare, but ask first.
- Don't touch anything: Doorknobs, windowsills, remote controls, toilet handles, refrigerator doors, etc. may have burglars' fingerprints. You'd think police get all CSI and dust everything, but they often don't. But if they detect an obvious entry point or a dirty fingerprint, they will.
- Seek safety: Go to your car and lock it behind you, or to a neighbor's, local store, whatever-just get out. But be within eyeshot for the police when they arrive. They will want to talk to you.
- Expect to be questioned: Police will ask lots of questions, and you may not understand or appreciate the line of questioning. Just know that they are doing an investigation and have their reasons.
- Call your insurance broker: Your insurance broker will have a process you must go through to record what was stolen to determine what's covered.
- Expect to feel violated: In the days and weeks following a break-in, you will notice more things missing or broken. The feelings of violation won't go away anytime soon. In some cases it might be necessary to move, as burglarized properties develop a black cloud over them in the victims' minds.
- Be proactive: Don't let this happen again. Invest in better doors, locks, security cameras and home alarm systems. Get a big dog, take a self-defense class, properly insure your goods, live your life and try not to worry about it.