A friend of mine was burgled recently. I spoke to her two days after it had happened and she still sounded shaken up by the whole ordeal.
In her own words she told me that what was once her sanctuary and safe haven had become a place where somebody – some horrible person – had violated her space.
She felt unsafe in her own home and she also felt a lot of hatred towards the person who had done this to her. This would be one memory that she could never shift.
What she told me next is quite common amongst burglary victims: the things that were taken were not worth much, but the sentimental values on those items were priceless.
What hurt my friend the most was that a couple of jewellery items that had been given to her by her grandmother had been taken. These items had stories and happy memories behind them. And for someone to snatch those away from her in a heartbeat was the most cutting of all.
There’s no positive side to being burgled of course, but the horrible ordeal that my friend went through meant that she made a lot of changes to her home. Changes that would ultimately mean that (A) Her property would be a deterrent to most burglars and, (B) She could start to look at her home as a safe place again.
So with my friend in mind, if you find yourself the victim of any type of burglary, here’s some things that you can do to help your emotional recovery…
Repair the damage
It’s pretty common for burglars to break a window, force a door off its frame, or cause some other kind of damage during the course of their crime. To ensure your home is secure as possible, and that you’re not constantly reminded of the horrible experience, repair this damage as soon as possible.
You’ll not only reduce the chances of another crime happening, but will also start to restore a certain feeling of normality.
Acknowledge your feelings
Denial, anger, shock and sadness are just a few of the emotions which are very common in burglary victims. If you want to speed up the healing process, it’s important to come to terms with these feelings, and accept that you’ve got a while to go until things are totally back to normal.
As the head of your household, you’ll want to put on a brave face, but don’t bottle up those emotions with the world’s most common lie: “I’m fine.” Whatever you need to do, make sure you confront those feelings head-on, rather than telling yourself that everything’s okay.
Whether it’s talking to your close friends, holding family meetings, or getting professional help, acknowledging the torrent of emotions you’re going through is essential to a healthy and speedy return to normality.
Get a home security system
According to statistics, it’s common for burglars to return to a house they’ve already burgled, looking for the valuables they think you’ve replaced.
However, you can deter this kind of repeat attack by installing a quality home security system. I actually received one of these for Christmas (review post coming soon), and I would recommend getting a system that records straight to a hard drive so that you can hand over footage to the police.
How good would it be to know that the burglars got their comeuppance when they have been identified by your system? They needn’t cost the earth either.
And as cowardly and vicious as burglars are, most of them aren’t stupid, and they won’t risk a jail term if they see that the homeowner has installed better security measures. Check out these alarm reviews of Vivint Sky to get started.
Following a burglary, you might want to avoid all references to crime whatsoever. Still, if you want to minimise the chances of another break-in, and give yourself better peace of mind, then it pays to know what kind of crimes are happening in the community and where.
Websites like CrimeReports allow you to search for specific locations, and then look at maps marking reported crimes, the date when they were reported, and even the time of day when it happened. You can also sign up to alerts which will tell you when a certain crime has been reported in a certain proximity to your home.
Three-point plan to protect yourself
- Stand outside and look at your house – if you were a burglar, where would you try and get in? Look for weak spots and places that are hidden. Remember, some burglars dress as window cleaners and climb through windows that are frequently left open. They’ll also disguise themselves as workmen so they won’t raise suspicion and give themselves time to examine a house in more detail.
- If you can, install a home security system – inside and out.
- When you buy something new – a new laptop or phone for example, take a picture of the item and the receipt and email it to yourself and keep it in a home folder. This will make insurance claims much easier.
Six-point checklist if you’ve been burgled
- Call the police straight away and do not touch anything.
- While you are waiting for the police write down everything that you can see has been taken (without moving things) – such as TVs, laptops, mobile phones, jewellery etc…
- If you can, take pictures of your home to show how you found it. You’ll need this for insurance purposes to prove certain items were stolen and that certain areas of the home were damaged.
- It also helps it you have pictures or receipts of the items before they were stolen.
- File a report: the police should be able to tell you about your options and what to do next. Once you have your police report, immediately contact your home insurance company. You must do the police report first as the insurance company needs the report number and a lot of information that’s in the report, including the point of entry, property damaged, items stolen, etc.
- Strengthen your home so this never happens again.