What to Do if a Burglar Breaks In

Even if you have the most sensitive security system in the world, a determined burglar may take his or her chances and rob your home. Burglars know they have a little time between the alarm going off and the authorities arriving, and they capitalize on that time to make off with your belongings.

Whether you’re at home or elsewhere when the burglary occurs, you’ll still have a disaster on your hands. The authorities will track down the intruder and do their best to retrieve your belongings, but you may never see those belongings again. You’ll probably have a mess on your hands as well. So what do you do now?

Below, we’ve outlined the steps you should take if a burglar breaks in. Remember that you’ll have to take different steps depending on if the burglary occurred with you in the home.

If You Were at Home
Burglaries often happen at night while homeowners and their families sleep. If a burglary happens while you're present, take the following steps.

1. Listen to what the burglars do.
Most of the time, burglars will go straight for the expensive stuff and ransack the property in that room instead of coming after you and your family. They’ll make loud noises if they do this—speed matters more to them than silence.

However, if you hear them coming towards you, you have to act quickly. Don’t wait for them to open your door. Find a place to hide.

2. Lock the door to your room, hide and be quiet.
If at all possible, you should never confront an intruder. He or she may have a weapon. You will be safer if you lock your door, hide and don’t call attention to yourself. Stay as quiet as possible.

You should also teach your family members to take this step. You don’t want to call attention to yourself, so you shouldn’t run out looking for your spouse or children. Have everyone hide and keep their cell phones close.

3. Call the police and stay on the line.
As soon as you’ve found a secure place to hide, call the police and quietly tell them what has happened. Tell them your address and everything you know about the burglars. Your alarm will summon the police, but they’ll need any additional information you can provide about the burglars. Stay on the line with the operator in case anything happens.

4. Escape if possible.
If you can escape through a window, you should do so. Remember to stay quiet.

5. Wait for the authorities to do their work before cleaning.
When the authorities arrive, they’ll apprehend the burglar or burglars, and they’ll file a report. You’ll also have to file a claim with your insurance. Don't touch any damaged items or areas in your house until the police and the insurance company have done their work.

If You Weren't at Home
If the burglary occurred while you ran errands or went to work, then you probably don’t have to worry about danger to yourself or your loved ones. The burglar probably left your home a while ago. However, you should still take the following steps so you have a better chance at getting your belongings back.

1. Don't go inside.
If you find the door ajar, don’t enter your home. The burglar or burglars could still lurk inside, and you shouldn’t confront them. Keep yourself and your family safe by staying outside until the police arrive.

However, if you don’t notice signs of a break-in until you enter your home, then make sure your family stays by the front door. Don't announce your presence, and don’t explore the house. Wait for the police to arrive.

2. Call the police to file a report.
As soon as you find signs of a break-in, call the police and report the burglary. You’ll have to give the police your address, and if you have any details about the break-in, you should relay that information as well. Do not touch anything until the police have arrived, cataloged the data, and gathered evidence. If you touch anything, then you contaminate the evidence. The police need uncontaminated evidence if you want them to catch the perpetrator.

3. Call your insurance provider.
You also need to call your insurance provider. Your insurance will help you with repairs and replacements for lost items. Your insurance provider will likely send out an agent to survey the damage and evidence as well. Don’t touch or clean anything until the claims agent has arrived.

4. Give the police all evidence.
Once the police and the insurance company have seen the damage and the evidence, you can start cleaning. Just make sure you give the police all your evidence. You’ll need to give them all security footage, fingerprinted items, broken glass (especially if it has blood on it), etc. Once the authorities have the evidence, they can track down the burglar.

5. Clean up.
Now you can clean up the mess. Use your insurance coverage to make necessary repairs and replacements.

The best way to avoid a burglary is to make your home look hard to rob, which means contacting Astro Guard Alarms to install a security system in your home. However, if a thief still breaks in, you can use these tips to keep you and your family safe.