A burglary leaves victims with a number of emotions. These feelings are only magnified if a home invasion takes place. This is a burglary where homeowners are present and a violent or dangerous event may have ensued.

Once the initial and external repercussions—the physical happenings—of a burglary are resolved, the internal world of a victim is left in chaos. Victims feel a mix of anger, frustration, anxiety, fear, and other emotions. It’s hard to cope following a burglary.

Though nothing can reverse the event that took place, with the right approach and resources, victims can cope with home invasions and be on their way.

Start with Practical Matters 

Before all else, begin with resolving the practical details of the break-in. Have you called the police? Have you checked your inventory list to see what is missing? If injuries have occurred, have you called an ambulance? Are all family members accounted for?

Before you focus on the trauma of the event, make sure every practical detail has been covered. Police should be notified immediately, especially if you are not equipped with monitored home security equipment that will notify law enforcement for you. Follow up your call with police by alerting your home insurance company.

Don’t Tamper With Evidence

Aside from reading through your home inventory list and spotting what is missing, do not move or tamper with anything in the home. Leave the crime scene as it is until law enforcement has the opportunity to investigate and take notes.

If you begin to interact with a crime scene too early, you may destroy useful evidence. Take photos and videos of the home, and immediately write down every detail you can remember about the criminals that broke in. Record their height, weight, attire, et cetera. Record the details of their break-in and what happened as well. Once you’ve taken photos or video, remove yourself from the crime scene until law enforcement arrives.

Dealing With Trauma

Once the house-keeping factors of a break-in are taken care of, it becomes time to care of oneself and their families. In this stage, it’s crucial to properly deal with trauma and the emotions that arise.

Family, friends and professionals are all a source to deal with trauma. Allow yourself to grieve and don’t hold back any emotions. If the process is too difficult, reach out to counselors and other professionals to walk you and your family through emotions.

Remember that everyone has different reactions. A burglary may affect children in different ways than it affects adults, and every individual will have their own unique coping needs.

Plan to Stop Future Burglaries

One home invasion is bad enough, but some burglars target homes that they have attacked before. They do this because they find previous homes familiar, and many homeowners leave their guards down after initial events.

Use the days after the event to equip your home with protection. Simply having an alarm system makes burglars 60% more likely to target a different home.

Purchase an alarm system that is attached to a central monitoring station, which will immediate contact police if a burglar alarm is triggered.