What to do after a break in
Protector Security in Dayton Ohio is used to being called right after a break-in, with questions about how to improve home security. Of course, if you called us before the break-in, you might not have as many things missing. Alarm systems won’t stop a thief from stealing, but they will shorten his time in your house.
Since you’ve found your way here, it probably means you’ve been broken into- we’re sorry.
We found this information pretty handy:
A home break-in can leave a homeowner with feelings of violation, fear, anger and loss. Unfortunately, many residents make some critical mistakes in the moments and days after they discover that their house has been burglarized.
Home burglaries can cause emotional distress and trauma for months – even years – following the break-in. But understanding what to do after discovering a home break-in can help maximize the victim’s chances of recovering their stolen belongings, while also increasing the likelihood that the burglar will get caught by the police.
Immediately Dial 911 and Exit the Home
If a homeowner returns home to find that their home has been burglarized, immediately exit the home and dial 911. If pets are within reach (i.e. they’ve come to greet you at the door – don’t go searching for them), take the pets with you to prevent the animals from stepping on broken glass or disturbing evidence until the police arrive.
Wait outside the home until the police arrive, preferably inside a locked car or at a neighbor’s home. This will reduce the chances of a potentially deadly confrontation between the homeowner and a surprised burglar.
Don’t Search the Home Yourself After a Burglary
There is always a chance that the burglar is still inside the home – a situation that should be handled by the police. Do not search the home or perform a walk through before the police have arrived to investigate the home break-in.
Don’t Touch Anything Inside the Home Before Police Arrive
On the way out, do not touch anything. Remember, the home is a crime scene. Touching and handling items inside the home can lead to loss of evidence, like smudging a suspect’s fingerprint or shoe print. Forensic evidence is almost always left behind during a home break-in; preserving the integrity of the crime scene will maximize the chances of an effective and successful home break-in police investigation.
If there’s any chance of recovering the items that are stolen during a home break-in, police will need a detailed list of all the items that are stolen. Perform a thorough-walk through of the home and write down a list of each and every stolen item. Add to the list if it’s realized that additional items have been stolen.
Search for photographs of the electronics, jewelry, and other valuables that were stolen from the home. Ideally, all jewelry and valuables should be photographed in advance, with all serial numbers recorded and stored in a safety deposit box (or other secure location outside the home.) For items that have not been captured in a photograph, write up an accurate, detailed description of the stolen item. Include information on the replacement value.
This list will need to be provided to the police department and to the homeowner’s insurance company.
Consider the Suspects and Recent Suspicious Activity
Many home burglaries are random. But there are cases where an acquaintance is responsible for a break-in. Ask questions like: “Who knew I was out of the house or on vacation?” Also try to recall any recent visitors to the home (i.e. salespeople, repairmen, etc), or any suspicious activity that’s occurred in the neighborhood in recent weeks (i.e. suspicious cars sitting outside the home).
Peruse Local Pawn Shops for Your Stolen Belongings
Police will almost always check local pawn shops for stolen property in the days immediately following a home break-in, but there is usually no follow-up during the weeks or months after the break. Visit local pawn shops weekly for several months following the home break-in. Many home burglary cases have been solved this way, and in cases where the burglary suspect is not arrested, at least the stolen property can be returned.
Our experience tells us that even though the police tell you they check all the pawn shops, we’ve still met plenty of people who’ve found bikes and tools in a pawn shop. The most important thing you can do is see if you still have boxes or warranty cards that may have serial numbers if you didn’t record them before the break in.
You more than likely will continue to remember other things that disappeared, this is normal. The shock of being violated often causes people to lose focus.
After the police are done with their e-crew, you’ll need to re-secure windows, doors. There are plenty of contractors who will do this for you, we plan to add a list of reliable people to this site to help you with this.
For starters, we’ve had great luck with Thade Construction in Dayton: 937-256-5290 They will secure or board over broken points of entry. We’ve seen them reconstruct broken door jams on site so as to not have to replace the door or frame. There are many metal strike plates that you can also add to help reinforce a door that’s been kicked in- at least temporarily until the new door or jam can be installed.
Make sure to ask the police officer if there have been other similar style break-ins in your neighborhood. We’ve seen thieves target a neighborhood. Usually, they know someone in the neighborhood who acts as a scout to watch your patterns- the break-ins can almost plot a circle around suspects at times. Don’t expect the police who respond to always know- they are only one shift- and switch duty days. You should also ask neighbors who may have security cameras to check their recordings for suspects or vehicles.
A strong neighborhood association can coordinate news of a break in and help let people know what’s going on. This can increase the chances of catching crooks when they get sloppy- and then you may find out what happened to your stuff.
After the damage has been repaired and the house is secure, please consider calling us to help you protect your home from a return visit. We can install an alarm system, security cameras and help you assess your homes vulnerabilities.
We’re sorry you’ve had to experience this.