What To Do If Your Home Is Burglarized

Updated: Feb. 16, 2024

Know the steps to take following a break-in, so you can start moving forward as soon as possible.

No one wants to come home to a recently burgled home. And if you are the victim of one, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out what to do in the moment. Fortunately we’ve got a list here for you so that you can do all of the right things in the moment.

Robbery vs. Burglary

Robbery and burglary are terms that get used interchangeably at times but there is an actual difference According to the Office of Justice, burglary is the act of breaking into a building and intending to steal, while robbery is the act of stealing itself.

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Call the Police

If someone breaks into your home, report it to the authorities first. You’ll want to report the incident to the police to establish a record and also give you information for filing an insurance claim. If your house is part of a pattern the documentation will help.

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Take Pictures

Photos will provide additional evidence of what your home looked like following the burglary or robbery. Police photos might be incomplete or the insurance company might need additional photos.

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Don’t Touch Anything

There is the potential you could destroy any evidence in your home before police arrive. As tempting as it may be to start to go through the aftermath and clean up, avoid that instinct.

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Locate Pets

If a door remained opened after a burglary it’s possible you might need to locate your pets if they aren’t in the home. Make sure at least one person stays at the house in case your pet wanders back on its own.

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Call Insurance Company

Call your insurance company quickly so they can help guide you through documenting damage, making a list of missing items and making claims.

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Document Everything

A common mistake is not not documenting everything. eep a complete list of what was taken and its approximate value. You might want to even draw pictures or let police know of specific identification marks. Keep an extra copy of the list for insurance purposes.

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Don’t Throw Out Broken Property

You might be tempted to throw damaged property out of frustration but those items need to be documented for any possible claims. Add them to your list and leave them where they are until the police are done.

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Locate Proof of Ownership Documents

It’s a good idea to keep documents related to big purchases because it can make providing proof of ownership to insurance companies easier. You can store them in a folder in your fire safe and keep a digital copy as a backup.

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Secure Your Home

It might be time to take a look at security weak points in your home and take steps to strengthen security. It could mean adding security cameras, additional lighting or adding tougher locks to a home.

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Call Your Bank

It’s good to call your bank even if you don’t know if any financial records were taken. You may not see the effect of stolen bank documents right away but you can avoid any potential losses by changing accounts, pins and other financial information.

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Let the Neighbors Know

Burglars like to strike in the same area multiple times because they’ve usually cased a neighborhood for some time before striking. So, when figuring out what to do if someone breaks into your home, be a good neighbor and let your neighbors know about a burglary.

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Follow Up With Police

One of the most frustrating parts of the aftermath of a burglary is how long it can take to get information. You’ll want to find the burglar immediately but crimes don’t usually get solved over night. Be sure to follow up with police periodically to keep abreast with the investigation.

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Talk to Someone

While it might not be intuitive, there’s one more thing to do if someone breaks into your home. A burglary will summon feelings of being unsafe and that can have a lasting effect. If you have residual effects from the burglary be sure to speak with a professional who can help with anxiety issues.