Published: Friday, November 23, 2018
It’s natural to feel at a loss about what to do when your home’s been ransacked, but there are some simple steps you should take in the crucial few hours after a break-in. Words: Lauren Ferrone
Don’t touch anything
First and foremost, be careful entering your once humble abode if it looks like it’s been broken into. Even if there are signs the intruder has fled, it’s best to remain cautious and call Triple Zero if you don’t feel safe.
Once you’re inside, it might be tempting to rummage through what’s left of your possessions. Try to leave everything the way you found it. Police can get a true picture of the event that’s taken place if the crime scene isn’t tampered with.
Call the police
Now that you’ve assessed the situation, call the SA Police Assistance Line on 131 444 to report the intrusion. Take a moment to compose yourself before picking up the phone, so you’re able to relay important information in one go while it’s fresh in your mind. Depending on the circumstances, you may be asked to make a statement at a local police station.
Write down any missing items, and anything that looks out-of-place like broken locks or windows and doors left ajar. If your hands are a little shaky from nerves, snap some photos for visual evidence.
Love thy neighbour
RAA members who’d tell their neighbours about a break-in.
Contact your insurer
Pick up the phone again and contact your insurer to see if you’re covered by your home and contents insurance, and to discuss lodging a claim. You’ll need to have your police report number, so remember to ask the police officer what those digits are.
Tell your neighbours
Let your neighbours know what’s happened without alarming them. Think of it as a chance for you to ask your neighbours if they saw or heard anything suspicious.
Change your security
RAA’s security expert Travis Murphy says brazen burglars may return for a second attempt.
“They might have more confidence and knowledge of the property and valuables that they couldn’t take the first time, so increasing security measures soon after is crucial,” he says.
Time for a change
RAA members who told us they changed their home security after a break-in.
“Some simple changes you can make include putting security warning stickers on windows, adding sensor lights to your outside area, and considering a monitored security system,” Mr Murphy says.
These are just some of the precautions taken by our members after reporting a home break-in. In fact, 23.4% stuck warning stickers on their windows and doors, and 23% padlocked their gates.