What to Do after You’ve Been Burgled

Police-at-crime-scene-08Having your vehicle stolen is bad enough, but it’s not quite the same as having your home burgled. When someone violates your personal space it can, and quite often does, cause enormous grief and upset. People often talk of feeling vulnerable after a burglary. I can relate to that. When we got broken into my wife could hardly sleep in the weeks that followed the break in. After our house was broken into for a second time, we both had to seek the support of a qualified councillor to help us overcome our ordeal. In this article I want to explain what to do after your home is burgled and how best to overcome the trauma before it takes over your life.

NOTE: You can jump to any part of this post by clicking the links in the table of contents

Table of Contents

  1. Victims Need Support
  2. After the Break-In
  3. Commercial Burglary
  4. Upgrading Your Home/Business Security
  5. The Most Valuable Gift of All

Victims Need Support

Wherever you are in the country, or indeed the world, when someone breaks into your home and takes your valuables there are three consequences.[1]

  1. Financial loss, either by theft of damage
  2. Effects on your emotional wellbeing
  3. A lost sense of personal security

The knock-on effects of these three things should not be underestimated. Some people bounce back from their ordeal quite quickly whereas many others are not so lucky. Some people report that their home no longer feels like a warm home but more of a place to stay. I can certainly relate to that. There can be a lot of self-blaming too, especially if someone forgot to close a window or lock a door. Sometimes a burglar will trick their way in, offering their services as say a handy man or by some other scam. People can feel violated and ashamed when such things happen, but it’s not their fault. That last point is so important that I need to say it again: it’s not your fault.

After the Break-In

OK, let us now assume you haven’t seen the burglar in action (most cases). Once you know you have been the victim of a break in, you need to tell people as soon as possible. This is not the time for reflecting on what went wrong or why. There is plenty of time for that later.

Immediately after a burglary:

  • Secure the home as quickly as possible
  • Make a list ASAP of all stolen valuables and any damages
  • Let relevant government departments, banks, internet services know as appropriate
  • If internet devices have been stolen change all your passwords to important sites

Once you have gotten all the urgent things out of the way, you can then set about making your insurance claims if you’re insured. You want to also look at ways on how to secure the home better in future. If you need emotional assistance, get in touch with your local victim support center sooner rather than later. You do not have to suffer alone or in silence in these situations.

Good victim support can help in so many ways, including:

  • Emotional support (people often need this more than they realize)
  • Lots of practical help dealing with the aftermath of the break-in
  • Advice on how to better secure your home in future
  • Liaise with other organizations and/or agencies on your behalf if necessary

You should be able to find the contact details of your local victim support agency easy enough. If not, your police department can give you the phone numbers of helpful organizations.

Commercial Burglary

Retail and commercial burglary is also a growing problem. My father-in-law runs a small newsagent, and during his 20 years in the business he has been the victim of burglaries five times. Four of these were in the small hours of morning and one was an aggravated burglary. The former were frustrating, annoying and destructive, but not particularly mentally damaging. The latter was a different story. He was locking up the store when someone aggressively pushed him to the ground. The thug then sat on his back and threatened him with broken bones if he dared to move or call out. His accomplices then continued to loot the shop before they all took off with their haul.

In general, aggravated burglary is more likely to take place in small, family owned shops and businesses on retail parks, etc. Aggravated burglary aside, most other forms of retail burglaries are less traumatic for victims. This is because the majority of crimes take place in empty structures.[2]

Common types of retail burglary include some of the following:

  • After hours break-ins (void of staff, most common)
  • Shoplifting (petty or organized)
  • Bank holdups
  • Commercial burglaries (offices, manufacturing, construction, cargo, transport, etc.)
  • Insurance frauds in all its forms (including false insurance claims)
  • Stealing by delivery persons
  • Storeroom and warehouse thefts by company employees

After the burglary of a retail outfit there are similar actions to consider to those of a house break-in:

  • Contact the police right away
  • Upgrade security precautions
  • Install of upgrade the alarm systems
  • Implement better safeguards for valuable stock
  • Never leave large amounts of cash on the premises

What measures you take all depends on the type of business, its location and the structure. If in doubt, my advice is for you to seek the guidance of a professional. You will probably be surprised at just how many vulnerabilities they expose in your current security setup. In the event of an aggravated burglary, you will most likely want to contact victim support.

Upgrading Your Home/Business Security

Almost everyone reviews their current security arrangement after a break-in. For some folks this will be the first time they’ve ever thought about securing their home outside the usual door and window locks. To be honest it can be a minefield out there. All the hype and technology surrounding building security can overwhelm even the most tech-savvy of us. You need to work out your specific requirements along with what type and level of security suits your needs, together with understanding the best place to hide your valuables.

What you don’t want to do is invest in costly equipment you don’t need and don’t understand. The best approach is to take a little time out to do your homework. You can learn more by clicking this link Top 5 Burglar Deterrents.[3]

The Most Valuable Gift of All

I wouldn’t say my family home is a fortress now, but it’s pretty darn close. I’ve got a lot of modest yet effective security measures in place. Some of these are just simple precautions like double door locking systems and window locks. We’ve also installed a wireless alarm system and have motion sensor security lighting in the garden. The most valuable thing that our home security gives us is peace of mind, and this is something that money just can’t buy.


[1] https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/burglary

[2] http://www.popcenter.org/problems/burglary_retail/print/

[3] http://www.safewise.com/home-security-faq

About Mark Bickmore

Hi, my name is Mark Bickmore. I'm an Engineer, who has a keen interest in home security and keeping my family, property and valuables safe from burglars. This website was set up to help me explore the research, facts and myths about burglars and burglary. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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