Unfortunately, we all know someone whose home or business has been robbed. Between 2015 and 2017, there were 627 claims of home robbery in Logan, QLD alone. Last financial year Australia saw a whopping 891 armed robberies. What do you do when you get home or to work and find that your property has been broken into?
Step One: Check everyone is safe.
You may have pulled up into your driveway to find a smashed window or your front door ajar. Or, you may have been in the house or office at the time of the robbery. It is vital that you ensure everyone on the premises is safe as soon as you notice that someone has broken into your property, making sure all persons are accounted for, and calling emergency services ASAP if anyone is seriously injured.
Step Two: Call the police.
Your first instinct may be to sort through your possessions to see what has been taken and assess the extent of the damage. However, it’s important to remain calm and to not touch anything, as the property should be treated as a crime scene. There could be evidence leading to the culprits of the robbery, and if this is disturbed, it’s less likely that they will be caught. Call the police immediately to report the break-in and wait outside until they arrive. Always be aware that the thieves could still be on the property, so it’s best to wait out on the street rather than enter and put yourself in danger.
Step Three: Check the essentials
Once the police have given you the go-ahead, enter your property and check if anything was taken, particularly:
- Spare car or house keys.
- Laptops, smartphones or tablets.
- Bank cards.
If so, you will need to update your security protocols ASAP. Call your bank and alert them to cancel or freeze your cards if you notice any of them missing. If your electronics are gone, and you use them to access personal details, go through and systematically change all of your passwords. You will need to arrange for a locksmith to come out and change your locks if any keys were taken..
Step Four: Fix any damages.
If you have any broken windows, or anyone has forced entry into your property and caused permanent damage, arrange for a tradesperson to carry out emergency repairs. If you rent your property, contact your real estate agent or landlord as soon as possible.
Step Five: Contact your insurance provider.
Call your insurance provider as soon as you can after the robbery to notify them that you need to make a claim. They will walk you through all of the documentation you will need to put together and review your home and contents insurance with you.
Step Six: Gather information to make an insurance claim.
Most insurance companies will need proof of ownership of items that have been stolen. Make an inventory of all the items that are missing and take photos of any damages to the property. Find purchase receipts for missing items as proof of ownership. If you haven’t kept your receipts, try to find previous photographs of these items in your home. Ensure that you have a crime reference number from the police. All of this evidence will assist your claim.
Step Seven: Review your security system.
Once you have cleaned your home or place of business, it’s important to assess the weak points in your property’s security system to ensure the future safety of your house. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Does my property have a security alarm system? If so, why did it fail to activate in time?
- Do all doors and windows have proper locks? Did the robber pick locks?
- Did the robber force entry by breaking the glass?
- Did the robber enter without forced entry? Were doors or windows left unlocked, or spare keys left in obvious places?
- Did the robber enter from a height, such as via a balcony?
- Were valuables left in obvious, easy-to-see places?
Michael Rechenberg, Managing Director of Rechenberg, recommends that every household and business has an alarm system installed, which is monitored by our 24/7 Control Room, in addition to video surveillance.
“Installing different alarm systems are not the only forms of security residents can take,” he said. “Homeowners can begin implementing simple methods, such as locking windows and doors, and keeping valuable items secure and, ideally, out of site.”
Step Eight: Prioritise your safe
Experiencing a break-in is a traumatic experience, and may make residents feel unsafe and vulnerable in their own home. It is important that residents speak to someone about the experience and ask for support if necessary, which could be from family, friends, or a Support Service.
To avoid break-ins, it is crucial that your security system is updated, this may be a 24/7 alarm monitoring service or CCTV. It’s always best to seek the opinion of a professional security installation company by organising an onsite inspection. Contact Rechenberg today for the best advice on how to keep your property secure and prevent any further break-ins.