Recovering From a Break-in
The agony from a burglary has little to do with the loss of your property. It is more about the loss of your sense of safety and privacy. After the incident, you may feel angry, anxious, and violated. However, you do not have to suffer forever. You can recover and resume normalcy if you take action to reestablish your sense of safety and recover your lost valuables.
Here is what you need to do immediately after a break-in.
Ensure Everyone is Safe
Intruders generally prefer to break into houses when nobody is home, but sometimes there are people around. Check on your family or roommate to ensure they are safe. If anyone has physical injuries, including you, get immediate medical attention.
Document the Incident
Take photographs of any damage such as broken glass, locks, furniture, or other possessions, and write down details concerning the break-in. Note the date, time, and any additional relevant information that can help authorities arrest the culprit or recover your property. Identify any missing items and estimate their value – in case you get
Notify the Police and Insurance
You must notify the authorities after a break-in even if nothing is missing or the damage is negligible. Call the police and provide all the details, including date, time, and a list of missing items. Having photos of the stolen items and the scene will reinforce the investigation. You should also contact your insurance provider to file a claim and establish whether your home insurance policy covers break-ins.
A burglary is traumatizing and can cause you anxiety. If you feel unsafe at home, talk to a healthcare professional or friend about your fears. You can also stay with relatives or friends for a few days. If your insurance policy includes mental
health benefits, talk to a professional counselor to help you cope with the experience.
Prevent a Repeat Incident
After experiencing such an invasive event, you must take measures to restore your sense of normalcy and make you feel secure. You will eliminate stress knowing that you are safe and prepared.
Protect Your Home Following a Break-In
Not every intruder will break into your house to steal your possessions. They may come to injure you or your family. The burglar may also be there to case your belongings. Therefore, you must take immediate action to protect yourself and prevent another break-in.
Conduct a Safety Assessment
The fact that an intruder was able to enter your home and probably take away your possessions is a reliable indicator that you have serious security issues. You need to inspect the safety of your house, and you start by establishing how the burglar got in. Was it a faulty door lock, a broken window, or an open patio door?
A safety assessment will highlight safety threats. Call a professional locksmith to perform a comprehensive security check on your doors and windows. They will also advise you on how to secure any entry that a thief may exploit.
Upgrade Your Locks and Doors
Reinforcing your locks and doors will make unlawful or forced entry more difficult. After a break-in, you should change your locks, regardless of how the burglar got into the house. Changing your locks is critical, especially if the intruder gained access through a faulty lock. Additionally, there is the possibility that the thief took your spare key, and they can use it later.
Old, outdated, and severely worn locks are more susceptible to manipulation than newer locks with advanced features. For
optimum security, upgrade to smart or keyless locks, or keyed locks with enhanced security capabilities. You can also reinforce your door with a deadbolt. If possible, replace the entire door with a more resistant type that
can withstand force or prying.
Update Your Security
Even after upgrading your locks, you need some security updates for the exterior and interior of your home. Install smart
outlets inside your house to deter criminals. They come with a timer that you can set to turn the lights or TV off and on when you are not home. The lights give an illusion of someone at home, even when there is no one. You can also
install a security system with sensors and loud sirens to scare off a potential intruder. Advanced systems come with an app that allows you to monitor your home from anywhere.
Trim bushes and shrubs that a burglar can use to hide and break into your house undetected. Also, cut off tree limbs that a
criminal can climb to access your home from open windows on higher floors. Additionally, lock away any tools that a burglar can use to break your doors, windows, or locks.
Protect Your Home From a Future Break-In
Criminals search for home security flaws to grab any item they can easily convert into cash. Your homeowner’s policy can help compensate you for your lost property. However, you must protect yourself from the emotional and mental distress that follows a break-in. Knowing burglars’ habits will give you insight into how you can effectively protect your
Some common ways intruders break in include:
- Opening the front door using a spare key from a hiding
spot, or by forcing the lock open.
- Using secondary entrances that usually have cheaper
locks and doors. Their locations also provide more cover for an intruder
to gain entry unnoticed.
- Entering through open windows and those that only have
latches and no locks. Such windows are easy to force open without breaking
- Taking advantage of climbing opportunities to reach
balcony doors and second-floor windows. Such opportunities include
ladders, furniture, grills, or trees.
With this information, you can take several deliberate steps to forestall a break-in. These include:
Change the Locks
If you move into a new house, change all locks and update all coded entry points. Previous owners could have left a passcode
or a spare key with a neighbor or a housekeeper. Changing the locks is the only way to control who can access your home. Additionally, never leave your spare key on your property. Whatever hiding spot you can imagine, a burglar can find it. Instead, you can give it to a friend or a trustworthy neighbor.
Strengthen Door Locks
While most burglars get in through open windows and doors, a significant number of break-ins involves forcible entry. Most
doors and locks, especially those on the porch, garage, or the back, are not sturdy enough to keep intruders out. For optimal security, you should have solid, kick-proof exterior doors. The doors should also have a deadbolt and a box strike plate with 3-inch screws for extra durability.
Secure the Windows
We all like opening windows for some fresh air, especially during warm weather. However, windows are easy to shatter.
Furthermore, most people leave them open or fastened with a latch that makes it easy to pry the window open. Install an auto-lock feature or a secondary locking mechanism to secure your windows. You can also add a track lock to aluminum or vinyl windows to restrict the up and down movement of the frame.
Reinforce Sliding Glass Doors
Most sliding glass doors are vulnerable to attack because they can be easy to break. They are also infamous for lock
failure. One of the most reliable solutions is installing a heavy-duty lock on the sliding door. For extra safety, you can install a shatterproof film or glass break detectors to trigger your home alarm at the sound of breaking glass.
Lock Valuables Away
An experienced thief already knows that most people keep valuables in jewelry boxes. A home safe provides an extra layer of protection for your high-value items. The safe should be too heavy to carry or mounted on the wall or floor.
Lock Garage and Shed Doors
An open garage or shed door will give a thief a preview of your pricey tools. It may also provide them with an idea of what
they can use to bump your locks or climb in through your top floor window. Additionally, thieves often case the joint. Locking your garage or shed door with a high-security lock will deter any burglar looking for an easy target.
Lock Car Doors
Always lock your car if you park in the driveway, in an unlocked garage, or on the street. Also, keep your remote garage door opener out of sight. A thief may steal it at night and get into your garage when you leave in the daytime.
If you are a victim of a break-in, you do not have to endure another incident. Intruders can attempt to break into your home,
but you can make it a difficult target. Installing high-security doors and locks will make it harder for a thief to break in.
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