Imagine if you came home and saw the front door open and the lock damaged. Your stomach could have been in knots as you began to realize you had been robbed. Unfortunately, this is a more common circumstance than you think. It is a terrible invasion of your privacy. In some cases, home insurance companies cover material losses and a theft defense attorney can offer legal representation, but what about the emotional part? How can you recover emotionally? There are several initial things you can do when you have been a victim of a robbery.
Call the Police
The first thing you have to do is stay calm and once you have verified that there is no one inside the house, you should contact the police. Chances are that you could recover the stolen items if you act quickly. Under no circumstances should you touch anything before the police arrive so as not to destroy evidence. Once the police have inspected your home, you must check all the valuables that have been stolen and make a detailed list of all of them and their characteristics in order to file the corresponding complaint.
Check on Occupants
When there is a home invasion, you should find out if everyone in the home is safe. Usually, burglars choose houses that are vacant. However, someone might have been in the home when the incident occurred and so you want to make sure no one has been violated. Therefore, you should check on your children, partner, and others who might have been there when the intruder made an entrance. Check to make sure that they are not harmed, in danger nor need medical attention. If they are safe, it is best to comfort them and provide a listening ear to the traumatic experience they may have undergone. They may be able to give the significant details when the police arrive and so make sure that they are calm enough.
It is also important that you take pictures of the scene, especially, if there are damages inside the home. This means that you have to remain focused because the details are going to matter. This is especially true for the authorities so you can recover any possessions, which might have been stolen. It can also help the police to advance the investigation with the leads you provide. Gathering relevant data is essential. Therefore, use your phone to take pictures of the broken locks, damaged furniture pieces, and broken windows. Pay attention if anything is missing and provide an estimate of the value.
You should secure all those documents that prove the existence of the stolen goods such as invoices and, in the case of jewelry or other valuables, photographs of them. In addition, you should have images of your valuables stored at home in digital format so that they can be more easily recognizable. Get a notepad and write down all the things that you are missing. If you are missing any documents that would risk identity theft, be sure to report the incident to your banking institutions. You may have to replace checkbooks, driver’s licenses, debit cards, and credit cards.
Contact Your Insurance Company
In addition to filing a police report, you also need to call your home insurance company to report the theft, especially, if items were stolen or damaged. The data will help the insurance company process your claim quickly and efficiently. There are many homeowners’ or renters’ insurance that covers theft and vandalism. However, it depends on the policy that you currently have. Compensation will also rely on the details of your policy. Contact your home insurance company so that they correctly inform you of the steps you have to follow to make a claim. It is important to review the general and particular conditions of your policy to know what is covered and what the established limits are. Now, let’s look at other subsequent things that you can do to avoid the situation occurring again.
Mislead the Thieves
You can mislead thieves in several different ways, which we will expound on. First, do not inform everyone or post on social media that you are not going to be home for a certain period of time, be it for vacation, work, or other reasons. Do not lower the blinds all the way. This gives the feeling that there is someone inside and reduces the chances of theft. Consider the option of hiring an alarm system. Always lock the door, even if you are only going to leave the house for a few minutes. Many security doors can be easily opened if they are not properly closed.
Install Security System
There is no magic or one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming the trauma of a robbery. After all, you feel vulnerable, and overcoming this takes time and a lot of patience. Therefore, you should definitely build a strong security system to protect you and your home. Think about using a security camera installation service to watch your home while you are away. Thieves often think twice when trying to enter a house that has, for example, surveillance cameras. Many private security firms also offer security guard help, if matters get out of hand and feel additional threat due to the break-in. When a full-fledged security camera or surveillance system is installed, it has the potential of preventing thieves from entering your premises. Make sure you also have the sign or sticker of the security company in the front of your yard to showcase that you are a responsible homeowner. In addition to having a security camera and sensors, you could hire a security company to monitor your home while you are away. You will receive alerts when and if someone is trying to get inside your home. If you are away on vacation, they will alert the police that there is a break-in and your home will be protected in your absence.
Secure the Circumference
Next, you should consider installing an electric fence gate to protect the circumference of your home. This means that the thief would not be able to go into the side or back of your home and if you have a good security system installed, the thief would find it hard to enter through the front door. Lock all gates leading to the back of your home when you are leaving the house. This includes your newly installed fence gate.
Change Locks and Doors
Once your home has been invaded, you should always change your locks. This is where you would hire locksmith services. It is best to get more secure locks installed. Most locksmiths will recommend this. Use smart locks instead. In addition, consider installing a heavy security door.
If the thief entered the home through the windows, you should call a professional window installer to do the window glass repair. If not, you will encounter the same problem again.
Feeling Safe Again
Don’t be afraid of your home. It is natural that you do not feel safe and so avoid being alone. Invite family and friends so that, little by little, you will feel comfortable in your own home again. Redecorate or reposition the furniture. Painting the walls, changing the furniture, or even acquiring a new element of decoration can help you, in some way. It could help you to see your house as a different place.
Seeking the Help of a Lawyer
Don’t be surprised, if you have to seek the help of a bankruptcy lawyer if you suffered tremendous loss and have to start all over again due to this traumatic situation. While the insurance policy may be able to cover some of your losses, it might not be enough. You may also need a home invasion attorney to help you. Conduct your research to find one of the best bankruptcy lawyers in your area.
Find Emotional Support
Express your feelings. You are going through the trauma of a robbery and so do not keep anger, sadness or any other emotion you may be feeling. Accept the help of others and give yourself time, each person is different, but things are usually better with the support of family and friends. Don’t let fear defeat you. After such an experience it is normal to feel fear, but do not let it overtake you. You have to take small steps to start feeling more secure and comfortable with the situation. Seek professional help. If talking to those close to you is not enough, do not hesitate to take another step and go to a professional. Report the matter to your employer too. It is possible that you could get time off to handle all the issues related to the incident or you could take a vacation so as to get your mind off of everything.
Return to Routine
Returning to the normal routine is essential after you have suffered a break-in. Try to go back to doing the things you did daily as soon as you have the opportunity to gradually resume the feeling of normality. This means getting up every day and going to work, dropping off the kids at school, and picking them up. You don’t want to let your family see that you are too shaken, especially after a few weeks. Channel your emotions through creativity. Painting or journaling is a good way to express emotions and thoughts that can be of great help in overcoming the trauma of a robbery. Try to maintain healthy behavior. Oftentimes, the anxiety can be so great that it leads us to overeat and drink or smoke more than usual. Eat well, exercise, and don’t let what happened to you affect your health too. Avoid making big decisions. You are already living a stressful enough situation. This would not be the time to make momentous decisions that add more anguish to your life.
Stay With Family or Friends
If you have to, go stay with family members or friends until you feel comfortable enough to return home. You don’t have to stay away from your home for a long period of time, but it is best to feel like you are in a safe place with people you are familiar with and who you can confide in. It will also give you time to sort through your thoughts.
Talk to Someone
Discuss the incident with loved ones and if possible a counselor. If you don’t talk about it, the situation might get worse. In the event that you suffer from PTSD, panic attacks, or anxiety after a home invasion, it is possible that you will need professional counseling to get over the fear and start to heal. Talking about it with a professional is the ideal option. Some people’s employers offer employment assistant programs where counseling is offered. Go to Human Resources and ask if there is any mental health benefit available. When you go to a professional counselor, you will get psychological help for the experience.
Start or join a neighborhood watch group so you can know what crimes are taking place in the area. You could also visit a crime mapping site online and enter your address to get details on reported crimes in the community. The idea is to stay abreast of everything so you can be alerted and you can participate as a responsible neighbor.
Overcoming the trauma of a robbery is not a simple process; it can take weeks, months, or even years. Be patient with yourself and take time to overcome your fears. If necessary, go to a professional for counseling. Although thefts in houses produce the most feeling of insecurity, you should try to remain calm and follow the steps revealed above.