What to do after a burglary

A burglary can be a horrifying experience, an invasion of privacy and personal safety. In this guide we cover what to do if your home is burgled.

1. Call the police

Phone the police on 101 to report the burglary. If you think the intruder(s) is still inside the property, dial 999 and if you’re worried that they might hear you, use the ‘silent 999 call’ option by pressing 55. 

Move yourself to a point of safety and never try to confront an intruder.

2. Avoid touching anything in the property

Until the police have been, don’t touch anything such as surfaces or entry points. There might be footprints, fingerprints or DNA evidence that the police can use.

Take photos of the entry point and anything that can be seen from a distance at this time, such as damage.

3. Recover from the shock

Whilst you wait for the police, ensure everyone in your household is accounted for and if you’re on your own do try to get a trusted neighbour (or friend/relative) to come out to you. It can be a very stressful time and you will need support.

Generally, if a crime is no longer in progress the police might take some time to arrive. If you can wait in a neighbour’s property, for example, whilst someone else stays with your property this will allow time for you (and anyone else you live with) to recover and gather your thoughts.

4. Talk to the police

Talk to the police when they arrive, give details about the time of the burglary and any specific details you know.

You will gain a police crime reference number (this is very important for your insurance). Whilst the police are in your property, do take your own photos of the property and damage.

Allow the officers to gather their evidence (it might be a different team/investigator that comes for the aspects such as fingerprints) which includes taking photos and asking neighbours for any witnesses or CCTV/doorbell camera footage.

The police will offer their advice about making the property secure again and will keep you updated about the progress of the crime case.

5. Create a list of missing items

Create a list of all the things you notice are missing and provide this to the police (if you have not already). If there is something you spot in the future you can update them.

Do check any sheds or garages, for any missing bikes or tools. It might be that the burglar used one of your tools, or a ladder, for entry.

6. Secure your property

By this time, hopefully the police have helped, or advised, regarding securing the property (such as around any broken windows or doors). If you’re not the owner of the property, do inform your landlord.

Your insurer will also be able to advise on security, such as new windows, which follows onto the next point…

7. Inform your home insurance company

Call your home insurance company (within 24 hours of finding out about the burglary) and provide the crime reference number the police gave you.

Provide the list you have of stolen items and around any damage, ensure you check your insurance policy terms to see what a claim should cover. The insurance company might expect proof of purchase or will seek extra information.

8. Emotional support

Burglary can have a huge impact on your feelings of safety, in the place you should feel the safest – your home. Even if you feel okay, any children you have might not be…

There is plenty of support out there and we would recommend talking to ‘Victim Support’ who have a support phone number that is 24/7 (08 08 16 89 111).

9. Security checkup

Gain a home security checkup from a professional. Many locksmiths offer a ‘free home survey’ so you then have a list of personalised security recommendations. Do always check that the locksmith is registered/approved with the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) and read reviews online.

Unfortunately there are many repeat victims of burglary as the burglar knows the property layout and that new goods will likely appear after a home insurance claim.

For top security tips covering your home, bikes, garage or wooden garden shed visit our resource section.

If you have any information about a crime, you can report it anonymously to ‘Crimestoppers’.