A burglary is a traumatic experience, to know someone has entered your home, been through your belongings and taken what is precious to you is distressing to say the least. Home usually feels like a safe space, somewhere you can let your guard down and to have that taken away from you can have a huge impact on your mental health and wellbeing.
The number of burglaries has increased year on year and the police across the UK have been highly criticised for their lack of response to break-ins. There have been countless stories over the last few years of police being called but not turning up until several days later or not at all.
Thankfully in September 2022, the police chiefs across the country committed to attending every burglary callout. It has taken time for adequate resources to be available but as of June of this year, they have achieved their goal of visiting every home that has reported a break-in. This action has increased the number of prosecutions and convictions by nearly 50% in some areas.
Unfortunately, there has been no target set for the response time, so some victims are still having to wait days for a police officer to visit. There has also been an adjustment in this commitment to say that police only must attend if a home is broken into, they do not have to visit if a shed, garage or any other outbuilding is burgled.
With all the above in mind, LSS London have some sound advice on what steps to take if you are the victim of a burglary, what to do and how to improve your security in the future.
You are at home, and someone has broken in
- If you can do so safely and without confrontation, leave your property. Perhaps have a plan in place should this occur.
- If you are unable to escape, lock yourself in a room and call 999. Try to stay quiet and listen to anything that could be useful for evidence.
- Do not confront an intruder as they may have a weapon. Do however look for something you could use to defend yourself if necessary. Even an aerosol is a weapon if sprayed into the eyes.
If you come home to a burglary, firstly make sure no one is still on the premises, do not put yourself at risk by confronting a criminal they may have a weapon and you are likely to get hurt.
Don’t touch anything
This may be hard to do as the temptation to move and check what’s been taken will be strong, but you could be destroying valuable evidence.
Call the police
If you are at risk and think someone may still be in the house, leave to a place of safety, perhaps a trusted neighbour and call 999. If there is no immediate danger to life call 101, this is the non-emergency number for the police. The police will explain what to do and will give you a crime reference number, you will need this reference number for your insurance claim.
Photos & Videos
Take photos of damage to doors, windows, furniture, or anything that you think you may need to claim for. Any video evidence can be very useful for the police, check with neighbours if they have any CCTV coverage on the road.
Cancel your credit or debit cards
If you think any cards or banking details have been stolen get in touch with the relevant banks and credit card companies quickly to have a stop put on them.
Secure your property
Fix any broken doors or windows or change the locks if you think there is a chance a set of keys has been stolen from your home.
List stolen items
Methodically check your home and list missing items, this can take time as people often forget things that have been put away for a long time. Try to find any evidence that you owned these items, insurance companies can insist on this. If you don’t have receipts, check bank statements or look for photos. Maybe a watch or necklace you may have been wearing is shown clearly in a photograph.
Contact your insurance company
Call your insurance company, they will require your details including your policy number. They will ask for the crime reference number and they may or may not send an assessor to visit.
When you have done all the official stuff it is time to put everything back together. This may be hard and ask for support from friends and family if you are struggling to do this alone.
You are likely to receive a call from victim support asking if you need any assistance. They have lots of knowledge and will be able to help in various ways. They can assist with form filing if you feel overwhelmed, and they can suggest companies to help secure your property. Victim support are there to offer support and guidance to victims of crime, they are available to speak to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their advisors have everything at hand regarding any service you may need to help you through this difficult time.
Change your locks if you have moved into a new property, who knows how many sets of keys may be out there. Get the best locks you can afford. Install window and patio locks if you do not have them.
Check your insurance policy
When putting in your claim consider if the cover was adequate to replace your valuables. Many people underestimate the value of their personal property. Take photos and keep receipts of everything you replace and keep these with your policy.
House alarm & CCTV
Consider installing a house alarm and CCTV, this is very affordable now and can be a deterrent to an opportunist thief.
Lighting on timers inside and outside your home will help keep it secure.
If you are looking into more security for your property, LSS London have a variety of services available to help you feel safe in your home. These include CCTV and alarm response teams, key holding and security patrol officers whose presence can deter thieves working in the area. These are far more affordable than you would think. If you would like to find out more call one of our friendly, knowledgeable security advisors for further information.