3 Ways To Recover From A Burglary
One afternoon, I received a few shocking texts from my friend and neighbor Tanner. They included photographs of his broken backdoor along with a list of numerous items that were no longer there! He was just the victim of a burglary.
Burglaries do not end with replacing stolen goods or repairing any damage that may have occurred. It can seep deep into your psyche and impact your sense of safety in your home. Interviewing my friend Tanner, I learned some valuable insights on how to rediscover yourself after your possessions and security have been stolen. Following these steps can help you reclaim your sense of well being.
#1- Assist the Police
Once the police arrive, they will ask questions about former occupants, present roommates, and information about who has had access to your home.
"I wasn't really prepared to answer questions. I had photos of the crime scene and a list of missing items, that's about it." Tanner answered, recalling that dreadful day. "I didn't have any security camera footage or any idea who would have done this. I tried to think about all the people that were in the apartment."
With 95% of all home invasions requiring some sort of forceful entry, it’s important to take pictures and have detailed documents. Tell the police any information you know and give them any camera footage you may have. Emotions are high, and sometimes you may not realize all the items that are missing. If you notice more items later on that are missing, be sure to let the police know.
In this particular case, his computer and wallet were not stolen. If yours has been stolen, be sure to order new credit or debit cards and reset online passwords to prevent identity theft and unauthorized purchases.
Before the police leave, make sure you write down your case number and gather the names and badge numbers of the police officers responding.
“It really helps to just be doing something. You can feel so helpless after your home has been broken in and speaking to the police was the first step in the recovery process.”
#2 - Reach Out to Family and Friends
Burglaries, as horrible as they are, have been happening since the beginning of time. It's normal to feel upset about the loss of precious, sometimes irreplaceable, items in your home.
"I was filled with such mixed emotions - shock, fear, guilt, sadness, vulnerability. It turned into a bit of a PTSD situation. It was great to be able to connect with friends and family, talking through how I was feeling. Without that support system, it would have been harder to fall back into my normal routine."
Remember it takes time to get over a burglary. The time it takes differs from person to person. Don't be afraid to reach out for help from your support system. They may have valuable insight and can provide a much-needed security blanket. Even keeping a journal can help alleviate the storm of emotions caused by the trauma of burglary.
Whatever you do, it’s good to stay active and try to return to your normal routine as quickly as possible.
#3 - Have a Plan in Place to Prevent Future Break-Ins
"I never thought something like this would happen to me! I live in a safe, Chicago neighborhood. You don’t think someone would tear down your back door when you’re not home."
The best way to deal with a burglary is to have deterrents in place so it never happens. Take the necessary steps to ensure your home is too much of a hassle to break into. Locking your doors using the deadbolt, knowing who's been in and out of your home, and installing a home security system are simple fixes to can save you from an unnecessary recovery.
Studies have shown that homes without monitored security systems are three times more likely to be targeted by burglars, so consider installing an alarm system like Scout Alarm to reduce the risk of burglary.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a burglary, be sure to take a deep breath and know that your possessions are not what defines you. The loss of your possessions should never cost you your mental health. With severe trauma, it is important to recognize how it is affecting your life and don’t be afraid to seek help immediately.
The three steps Tanner took; Being active in the initial police report, reaching out to your support system, trying to quickly return to normalcy, and putting deterrents in place so a burglary is less likely to happen, will put you on the road to a successful recovery.