What to do when you’ve been burgled

If you’ve just discovered a burglary in your home, it’s important to act fast. You’ll need to do two things immediately: alert the police, and ensure that your home is secure from further attack. Once these have been attended to, you will want to consider home security improvements to safeguard your property in the future.

Reporting the burglary
If the burglary has already been committed and it’s not an emergency situation, use the non-emergency police number to report the crime. Call 101 for your local police force and give the details of the burglary and your home address. In an emergency, always call 999.

Reporting the burglary will enable you to claim on your insurance using a crime number, and may help the police to reunite you with your missing belongings. Remember to follow any instructions given by the police, and wait for a police go-ahead before touching anything or beginning to clear up the mess. You may also wish to take photographs of the scene for police and/or insurance purposes.

Securing your home
When you have reported the burglary, it’s time to make your home secure again. If you have broken windows or doors, or your locks have been tampered with, you’ll need to get these fixed as soon as possible so that your home is no longer vulnerable to intruders. If you think an intruder has managed to get into your home without breaking in, or they have a copy of your keys, it’s vital to change the locks immediately. Check the Yellow Pages or search online for a local locksmith (you should find lots who offer a 24-hour emergency call-out service).

Broken windows will need immediate repair or replacement, or boarding up to protect against the elements. Again, look for local 24-hour emergency glaziers, who will respond to your call at any hour of the day or night.

Insurance claim
Once you’ve sorted the basics (and perhaps got a good night’s sleep), it’s time to contact your insurance company to make a claim. It’s best to do this as soon after the event as possible, and have all the relevant information to hand, including a crime number.

A listening ear
After the dust has settled, you’ll probably be feeling more vulnerable than usual. This is completely normal when you have been through a break-in, and there’s plenty of support available if feel you need it. Contact Victim Support for free and confidential support services.

Home security improvements
Something that may make you feel safer following a burglary is a home security audit. What can you do to your property, and what habits can you adopt, to make your home safer and more secure? Consider joining or starting up a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, think about installing a burglar alarm or another visible security item, and always remember to lock all doors and windows every time you go out, taking care to keep valuables hidden from sight.

Our Guest Author

Fort Locks

Kevin Carloni is a locksmith with over 20 years’ experience. In 1994 he established Fort Locks, a locksmith company operating in Hertfordshire and North London. Kevin prides himself on being the “face” of Fort Locks and, according to his Twitter profile, is “the happiest locksmith you could care to meet.”