Burglary is not just a simple act of unlawful entry into a structure without permission. It is that of course, but it’s more besides. I know this firsthand. In this piece I am going to show you how to significantly minimize the impact of a burglary. Before we look into that, let’s see how you can better prepare yourself before a burglary occurs. It’s crucial that you know what cause of action to take in the event that someone breaks into your home.
NOTE: You can jump to any part of this post by clicking the links in the table of contents
Table of Contents
The Importance of Planning Ahead
It’s a shock for anyone to arrive home to find that intruders have ransacked their personal space. I also know that it’s a gut instinct to panic, but this is the last thing you must do. The way to reduce that effect is to plan ahead. Besides using burglar deterrents, you want to put other systems in place. To put it another way, you need to have a concrete plan of action in your head. You must know how to react if you woke up or came home one day to find that someone had broken in and burgled your property. No one wants this to happen but the reality is that it might. This is why it’s better to plan ahead.
Get Out and Call 911
If you wake up to find someone has burgled your home, the first thing you must do is get out of the property. Once outside, and a safe distance from the home, dial 911 for immediate support. You need to get out because the intruder may still be inside somewhere, armed and potentially dangerous. If you come home to find your place burgled, again get out and call the police without further delay. Once the police have done their job it is then your turn. You need to take positive steps to minimize the negative impact of the burglary as much as possible.
Remember these three important actions:
- Try not to panic (do a thorough inspection of the damage)
- Be organized (tidy up, but only after the police have left)
- Plan ahead (be strategic)
Once you have a plan of action in your head, it becomes so much easier to take positive action right away. This also prevents panic and paralyzing fear from setting in. These are both things which can maximize the impact of a burglary, and you don’t want that to happen.
Reduce the Damages
There are some definite measures you can take to reduce the damages of a break in. Surprisingly, a lot of people look into preventative measures after a burglary has occurred. Try not to be part of these statistics and invest in some sensible precautions to safeguard your valuables.
Six sensible precautions you can take to minimize the impact of a break in include:
- Keep a record of valuables
- Mark property
- Paper Shredder
- Home security safe
- Hide your valuables
#1: Keep a Record of Valuable Items (Including Serial Numbers)
This is one of those things that people are always meaning to do but never seem to get around to it. The reason why it’s so important is because it helps the police to trace the stolen items easier. It also helps them to link those items to the thief who took them. Keeping records also means the police can return any retrieved items to you a lot faster. This is because you have actual proof that they belong to you. As we’re living in a technological age, you can record your valuables online for safekeeping if you want to. All you need to do is upload the photos with a short description. There are numerous sites that allow you to securely store this information.
#2 Marking Property Is a Smart Move
Every single year police are able to reunite burglary victims with their stolen possessions. This is all thanks to owners who mark their valuables. The most effective way to do this is by using something called SmartWater or a similar product. It’s a kind of odourless, colorless liquid. What is does is forensically link the thief to their actual crime scenes. Each SmartWater solution is unique to the owner. That means there can be no debate on who owns the stolen items. You can also place SmartWater stickers in your window to deter burglars from entering. You can apply this clever solution to just about anything you want to.
#3: The Paper Shredder
A paper shredder is not the kind of tool that most of us have in the home, right. But maybe it should be. The reason I say this is because we’re always throwing old bill statements and invoices out with the trash. The problem is that an opportunist burglar will often sift through a person’s garbage. You bills and other statement can include things like account numbers, full names of the residents, and the full postal addresses of the inhabitants, etc. In other words, there can be a treasure-trove of information on these documents that a savvy thief can use to their advantage. Shredding such files before throwing them out is a wise move and one that can lessen the impact of a burglary.
#4: The Home Safe
Home safes are so inexpensive now, but they can really prove to be valuable security items. Maybe you want to lock away important documents, jewelry, external backup drives or other valuable items. Whatever they are, a quality safe will keep them secure from most types of burglar. It’s important to point out that not all safes are equal in strength and security. What kind of safe is best suited to your specific needs will depend on various factors. You may also want to consider a safe which is fireproof too. Be sure to do your homework and choose with care.
#5: Home Insurance
All too often people take out home insurance to later discover they weren’t properly covered. Imagine that. You’ve done the right thing or you think you have. You cross all the t’s and dot the i’s, but then comes crunch time. Someone burgles your home and you have to put in a claim for losses and damage. Your insurance company then tells you that you don’t have adequate cover for many of the possessions you’ve lost. Dam! Sadly, it’s a familiar story. If you really want to minimize the impact of a break in, you don’t need this headache. There are two things you must be absolutely certain of before taking out any new home insurance policy:
- What it covers (specifically)
- What it doesn’t cover (specifically)
Another thing that’s important before making a claim is to know exactly, in minute detail, what it is you’ve lost. See point #1 above, ‘Keep a record of valuables’. There’s a lot of good specialist advice out there when it comes to choosing a home insurance policy so please make sure you use it.
There are plenty of things you can do to both prevent a break in and minimize the impact of burglaries. With the latter, make sure you are well-organized and have a plan of action ready, just in case you too fall victim to this everyday crime.