What Now? 5 Steps to Take After a Home-Break In

Posted July 1st, 2024 by SimpliSafe

A home break-in is one of the most devastating events that can happen to a homeowner. Not only does it result in stolen goods and vandalized property, but it can also leave you feeling violated and unsafe in your own home. 

While a smart home security system is the best way to prevent a break-in, there are instances when a trespasser is brave enough to ignore the security yard sign out front and cause damage before the police can arrive. During such instances, it’s important to understand what to do in the aftermath of a break-in and how you can better protect your home from a repeat occurrence. 

Step 1: Know the Signs of a Break-in

Most burglaries happen in just a few minutes, and while the signs of one are usually obvious, burglars who tread lightly may make it harder for you to realize until you notice missing items.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Clear signs of breaking and entering, such as a smashed window or a broken door handle

  • Furniture and decor do not appear to be as they last were

  • Open cabinets, especially medicine cabinets in bathrooms or draws in closets

  • Your family dog is closed in a room or roaming around the backyard

  • Footprints on wood or tile – most burglaries won’t take the time to take off their shoes

Of course, if you have a smart home security system installed, you may be made aware of a break-in before or as it occurs, especially with professional monitoring. If you get an alert that there is an intruder in or around your home,  you can request the monitoring agent to dispatch police. 

Step 2: Stay Calm and Call the Police

If you suspect a break-in has occurred or if you hear suspicious noises, the first thing you should do is call the police. Again, if you have professional monitoring with your smart home security system, then the authorities will be dispatched for you, which is especially important in instances where you might not be near your phone.

After a break-in, try to stay calm and collect as much information as possible to relay to the authorities. Better yet, review footage from your indoor and outdoor cameras to help recall events and help the authorities with their investigation. 

If you are home when the break-in occurs, you can quickly and easily call for help using the SimpliSafe panic button on your keypad, key fob or mobile app. Upon pushing the panic button, the monitoring center will be contacted right away, and police dispatched. 

Remember: In the event you are home during a break-in, do not confront the intruder. Your safety should always come first. If possible, lock yourself in a room and stay there until the police arrive. Hit the panic button. Don’t leave the room until you’re absolutely sure the intruder is gone and/or police have arrived at the scene and it is safe to come out. 

Step 3: Document the Damage

Once the police arrive and the area is secured, it's important to document any damage or missing items. Take photos of any broken windows or doors, and make a list of any stolen possessions. Your home security system will do a good job of marking some of this for you, but only you will know exactly what’s been broken and especially what’s been taken. 

This information may be helpful when filing a police report, too, but it will come in handy in making an insurance claim and perhaps even catching the burglar. Remember that SimpliSafe's security cameras can capture footage of the break-in, which can also be used as evidence.

Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Company

If you have homeowner's or renter’s insurance, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the break-in and any missing or damaged items. If you are renting, you should notify your landlord of the break-in as well. 

In general, your insurance company may require a police report and a list of stolen items before processing your claim. SimpliSafe's home security systems can provide evidence of the break-in, which may help expedite your insurance claim.

Step 5: Take Steps to Prevent Future Break-Ins

After a break-in, it may take some time for you to get your bearings. Once you feel ready, it's important to take steps to prevent future incidents. 

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Understand how the break-in occurred. For instance, if the burglar gained entrance through an open garage attached to your home, take care to close your garage door whenever you leave home.

  • Replace any damaged windows or doors, and consider changing your locks.

  • If you already have a home security system, consider adding additional equipment like an outdoor security camera, an extra entry sensor and/or professional monitoring.

  • According to the UNC Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, 60% of burglars said that the presence of an alarm system would deter them from breaking in. Make your home security system’s presence known by placing your security company’s yard sign in a visible location on your front lawn.  

Get Ahead of Burglars

A break-in can be a terribly nerve-wracking experience that can make it hard to think clearly in the aftermath. But knowing what to do if a break-in were to occur – especially if you’re already utilizing a smart home security system – can help make the days after the event feel less hectic.

Don’t have a smart home security system yet? Whether a break-in was the unfortunate trigger that has led you to consider one now, or you want to prevent a break-in as much as possible in the future, a home security system like SimpliSafe can deter burglars and provide peace of mind knowing that your home is protected 24/7.

Shop now and keep those burglars away!