The Bureau of Justice reports that an estimated 15.9 million property victimizations occurred in 2016 alone. The siren on your monitored home security system may help to deter would-be criminals, but in the event of a break-in, filing a police report as soon as you discover that your house has been burglarized increases your chances of recovering your stolen property.
When you discover your house has been broken into, below are a couple of things to keep in mind.
Report the Crime Immediately
If a crime has taken place in your home, take immediate action by calling the police. According to The Law Dictionary, every day that goes by after you experience a crime makes you less likely to remember crucial details that may lead to an arrest. By contacting the police immediately, you will be able to provide as many accurate details as possible.
Provide police with information about:
- What was stolen
- When it was stolenn’t make assumptions. Stick to the facts and what you can remember.
- Any evidence you have including video clips/images from your security system.
An HD Video Doorbell or a home surveillance system can help you identify potential criminals and help police catch the burglars who committed the act. An HD Video Doorbell can also help catch potential porch pirates who might be looking for packages left at your door. It can also help to keep tabs on who’s approaching your front door when you’re away from home. Indoor and outdoor surviellance cameras can be set up to take video clips when your alarm goes off. Even an motion-triggered image sensor can help gather evidence to present to the police if a burglary occurs in your home.
Make Sure a Police Report is Created
In simple terms, a police report is a form drafted when a crime is reported to the police. These reports usually include your name or the names of the victims involved, any identifying characteristics or possible ID of the perpetrator, the type of crime that occurred, potential witnesses and the value of what was stolen or damaged. It’s strongly encouraged by most law enforcement agencies that the police be contacted immediately after a crime occurs. In the event of a burglary, calling the police to your residence is the best way to get an accurate picture of what transpired.
Some police departments now have the ability to receive online reports that you can complete from your personal computer or smart phone. This is an example of an online criminal report from the City of Longmont Colorado. Some law enforcement agencies even have apps for filing police reports. Make sure to carefully read through your city’s requirements for an online filing to make sure it’s the right move for you.
Stay Active in the Investigation of Your Case
- Ask police if your case has been assigned a case number.
- Find out if your police department has assigned a detective to your case and get his or her contact information.
- Contact police or the assigned detective a week or so after you filed your report. It helps officers stay on top of things and helps direct their focus on your case. Be sure to have your case number available when you contact them. Contacting police, a week or so after you filed your report, helps officers stay on top of things and re-directs their focus on continuing the investigation into your case.
According to the BJS, a large portion of property crime victims fail to report crimes to the authorities because they feel the crime wasn’t important enough. The BJS also reports that failure to report a crime puts other people at risk by allowing offenders to roam free without facing consequences.
The information you provide in a police report may not yield an immediate capture, but aiding the police with any information you can provide gives law enforcement a much better chance at preventing a burglary from occurring to someone else, and gives you a better chance at recovering your stolen property in the long run.
Precautions in Case of a Burglary
As a precaution, everything you hold to be valuable, such as electronics, jewelry, art, and family heirlooms should be photographed and itemized and kept in a safe place so you have it at the ready in the event of a burglary or emergency event such as a flooding or fire. This will help the insurance company know what’s missing and how best to cover the cost of what’s been taken or damaged.
Having an inventory of your valuable items along with financial statements will also help police know what to look for in the event of a burglary and how best to prosecute the criminal responsible for stealing your property.
A monitored home security system can also help protect your home from property crime both by serving as a deterrent and by notifying police quickly in the event of a break-in. Guardian’s monitoring center responds to alarms in an average of 30 seconds or less. Contact Guardian for more information on how we can help you protect your home, or call 1.800.PROTECT (1.800.776.8328).