While we hope it never happens, at some point in your life you may become the victim of a burglary. You come home from a long day at work and find your front door has been jimmied open. Your blood runs cold and a chill goes down your spine. As your heart thumps madly in your chest, you wonder, “What do I do?”
Fight the urge to immediately rush inside and see what’s been taken or damaged. If the burglar is still inside, he or she might become violent in their own panic to escape. Instead, get back in your vehicle and drive a bit up the road. It would be great if you are still within eyeshot of your home, so you can see if someone leaves.
Call 911 and provide the dispatcher with the following information.
–That you came home and discovered a possible break in.
Speak clearly and remain calm. The dispatcher may ask you for your description as well as a description of your vehicle. This is so the responding officer will hopefully recognize you as the caller, rather than a potential burglary suspect. Follow any instructions the dispatcher gives you and wait for the police to arrive.
Once the police are on site, they will want to walk through the home and search to ensure the burglars have left. You will remain outside until they give you the all clear. This is for your own safety, as well as the safety of the officers. If during their search they hear a noise or see an indication someone is in the home, you don’t want to be caught in the middle.
Upon entering your home, you will want to go into each room and try to determine what, if anything, is missing. Some things may be obvious, such as a TV. Others, though, you might not discover until later. You’re obviously going to be very upset and distressed and it is easy to overlook things when in that state of mind. Make a list of everything you find to be missing, with as much detail for each item as possible.
Something I’d encourage you to do today is to take photographs of your more valuable possessions – electronics, computers, jewelry, firearms, that sort of stuff. When there is one present, take a photo of the serial number of the item. Keep all of these photos on a flash drive so you can easily pull them up, even if your main computer was one of the items taken.
Submit the list of taken items, complete with photos if available, to the police and your insurance agent. I’m sorry to tell you this but the odds of recovering much or even any of the stolen property are probably going to be rather slim. Thieves don’t tend to hold on to stolen goods for very long. They typically don’’t want the TV, they want the cash from someone who will buy the TV from them. Hopefully, though, your insurance agent can process the claim quickly and you’ll be able to replace the goods soon.