Our home is our sanctuary, the one place we want to feel safe and secure, away from the chaos of the outside world. None of us like to think of the possibility of someone breaking in, rifling through our things and taking whatever valuables they can get their hands on.
Sadly that’s a reality for about 20,000 Irish people every year. But what do you do if you experience a burglary? We know the event may leave you feeling vulnerable but there are steps you can take straight away to start the process of feeling more secure and back in control.
Research we carried out showed 35% of Irish people are at home when a burglary occurs so it is possible you will be in your home. Don’t try to stop them or get involved, tempting as it may be when they are on your property. Most burglars will leave if disturbed. If not, lock yourself into a room or leave the house and dial 911 for emergency services at the earliest possible opportunity.
If you come home to find your house in disarray after a break in, or even if it isn’t, but you suspect something isn’t right, don’t touch anything. Call the emergency services using your mobile or a neighbour’s phone, try to avoid using a phone in your home so you don’t affect or contaminate any evidence.
If you have a CCTV camera installed or there is CCTV in your area see if you or the Guards can access it. It may show the culprits entering or leaving your home, the vehicles they used or other useful evidence should a case come to court at a later date.
Once the authorities are finished contact your insurance company, ideally within 24 hours, to start the claims process. Your insurance company may send out a claims adjuster to view the damage so follow any instructions from them to keep proof of the break in and the damage done intact until they can see it.
Once the authorities are finished you can begin to re-order your home or the rooms that were effected. This can be a difficult, depending on the damage done, it might be worth getting professionals in to begin the process. Otherwise take your time and consider redesigning a room or repainting to break up the connotation with the break-in.
It is tempting after a break-in to want to turn your home into Fort Knox so it can’t happen again but it won’t make your home practical or easy to live in. We spoke to some Irish security experts for their simple tips on keeping burglars out of your home while not turning it into a maximum security prison for yourself and your family.
A break in is a traumatic event, especially if you and your family were in your home at the time. In the period after the event talk as much as possible with the other members of your family about how they are feeling. See if there are things you can do to make yourselves feel more secure in your home. If the upset won’t leave you or a family member, don’t be afraid to speak to a counsellor to help you process and move on from what has happened.
Experiencing a break in is a shocking experience but it is important to know from the Guards to counsellors there is support out there to help you deal with what has happened and move on with your life in confidence. Don’t risk losing your valuables make sure your contents are well insured for peace of mind this winter.