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Home Burglary Checklist

What to do after a burglary—and how to make sure it never happens to you again.

My home was robbed—what do I do?

Your home is supposed to be your safe place—a space that belongs to you and those you love. When someone invades that space, the effects can be traumatic, especially if the burglary resulted in stolen valuables and property damage.

In the wake of a home burglary, it can be hard to push past the initial shock and the wave of emotions that follow. But there is a very simple process you can follow to report the incident and eventually put it behind you. Read on to learn what to do after a home burglary and how you can protect yourself in the future.

image of police officer with radio image of police officer with radio

Step 1: Call the Police

When you discover your home has been burglarized, your first instinct will most likely be the correct course of action: call the police. If your home is equipped with a security system, the police are automatically notified the moment an alarm triggers.

Unless you’re absolutely sure the burglar isn’t still inside your home, wait for law enforcement at a safe location (a neighbor’s house, in your car parked down the street, at a relative’s). If a burglary happens while you are still inside your home, get out safely as quickly as possible.

Once authorities arrive, provide them with as much detailed information as you can. Do not go back into your home until they tell you it is safe to do so.

image of concerned woman image of concerned woman

Step 2: Remain Calm and Touch Nothing

In times of distress, it’s easy for instinct to take over. In the event of a home burglary, your initial instinct may be to clean up the house or sift through your belongings. Try to resist this—you could end up compromising key evidence. Leave broken glass, furniture, or doors be as well, as they could provide insight to the police about the burglary.

Though a home invasion is frightening, it is important to try to remain as calm as possible. This makes it easier for emergency personnel or monitoring agents to effectively help you. It’s also easier to avoid disturbing anything if you can remain focused and level-headed.

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Step 3: Take An Inventory

Make a list of missing items such as electronics, photographs, jewelry, purses, credit cards, wallets, cash, watches, and furniture. Take photographs and recordings of each room in your home to document stolen items and damages (broken doors, shattered windows, etc.). Carefully inspect each room even if you’re unsure it was entered.

Give copies of your list, along with photos of the missing items, to police to include in their report. Send to your insurance company to include in your claim. Remember to keep a copy for yourself.

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Step 4: File An Insurance Claim

After you’ve taken an inventory of your belongings, call your insurance company. The claims agent will likely ask for details about the burglary, such as an approximate timeline of events, stolen items, and any damage to your property. This is where your list comes in handy. You’ll also want to provide the police report and photographs of the house and any damage.

During the call, your insurance company will schedule a claims adjuster to come to your house. Until the adjuster arrives, try to leave everything as is so they can properly assess loss and damage. It’s not uncommon for adjusters to provide advice on precautions you can put in place to prevent future incidents, such as changing locks and installing cameras.

image of woman with phone and credit card image of woman with phone and credit card

Step 5: Call Your Bank, Cancel Those Cards

When you go through your home searching for stolen items, take note of any missing credit or debit cards, checks, bank statements, or other sensitive financial information. Stolen phones, tablets, and laptops may also provide access to details you wouldn’t want to end up in a thief’s hands. Inform the police of any bank information that was taken.

Call your bank immediately and cancel the missing cards. If, after that, you are still nervous that the burglar has your financial information, close your bank account and open a new one. Check your account to see if any of the stolen cards or checks have been used—if so, this could help lead to identifying and apprehending the burglar.

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Step 6: Speak with Your Neighbors

Once the police have taken their report and you’ve made the necessary calls, it’s time to go knock on some doors and talk to your neighbors. Let them know what happened so they can be on the lookout for any suspicious activity around their own home, as neighborhoods that have already had break-ins tend to be revisited by burglars.

Speaking with neighbors might also provide more information on your home’s invasion. They may have noticed someone around your property, or have security cameras that recorded something of note. It never hurts to ask—you may get more information that you thought you would.

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Step 7: Secure Your Home

Once you’ve straightened up your home and things are somewhat back to normal, it’s time to enhance your home’s security to make sure this never happens to you again. If you have a security system, consider adding devices or upgrading your plan for additional monitoring coverage. If you don’t have a security system, seriously consider installing one. According to a study, 60% of burglars will not attempt to break into a home with visible security in place.

Change locks to make sure the thief can’t re-enter. Install motion-activated lights that blink on with movement. Place cameras wherever you see fit, and smart locks at key entry points so you know without a doubt that your home is properly secured.

Don't Have a Security System?
ADT Can Help with That

Recovery after a home burglary doesn’t come overnight. It’s hard to feel safe once your home has been entered, and the peace of mind lost through the experience can be difficult to get back.

ADT offers advanced ADT-monitored home security packages designed to ensure your home, family, pets, and belongings stay as safe as possible. Work with a professional monitoring agent to customize your system to the specific size, layout, and potential vulnerabilities of your home, and easily add features or equipment to strengthen your defenses.

24/7 monitoring provides a constant layer of protection that you can rely on day and night. Instant notifications keep you informed of exactly what’s happening at your house and when, and remote access allows you to control everything from arming your system to turning on the lights right from your smartphone.

ADT is here to help you take action to protect what’s rightfully yours. Get cutting-edge security to put would-be burglars in their place: far away from your home.

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