The unfortunate truth—which many burglary victims will not like to hear—is that burglars are notoriously difficult to solve. Burglar victims are often frustrated by this fact, and amidst the many emotions that overtake them after the event, they feel as though law enforcement is not doing their part to solve the crime. This is not the case.

Burglaries are hard to solve because there is often little evidence. Fingerprints are often contaminated, and even if they are retrieved, suspects are difficult to track down. The best way to solve a burglary is by preventing the event from ever taking place. This happens by obtaining home security equipment.

If you can’t prevent a burglary from taking place, you can safeguard your items and mark them as yours with serial numbers. If your items are in protected areas and marked with serial numbers, there is a higher likelihood that you will retrieve them after the fact. If a burglary has occurred and you are beginning the search for your items, here is what you should do:

Inform Law Enforcement

Start by informing law enforcement of the burglary. Tell them what has been stolen and provide them with photographs and serial numbers of the items that were taken from you. Providing as many details as possible will enhance the likelihood that your items are tracked down.

Remember to wait until police arrive at your home before you interact with your belongings. You do not want to contaminate the crime scene and you want to give police the best chance of finding evidence as possible. If you have home security equipment, show them the footage of the burglar so they can use that evidence as well.

Visit Pawn Shops

Burglars are likely to take your items to local pawn shops, thrift stores, or other commonplace stores. If you have photographs and serial numbers of your items, store owners will be able to return any items that were wrongfully taken from you.

Start with local stores and even consider searching in neighboring cities. Many burglars will head to different cities for a better chance of selling goods, because store owners are cognizant not to buy stolen items. If specialty items like jewelry or weapons were taken, check specialty stores.

Check Online

The online equivalent of a pawn shop or thrift store is sites like Ebay, Craigslist, and other classified options. Even Facebook now allows user to sell items. Check these websites to see if your items are being listed. If you find them, contact the website and law enforcement.

Give your search some time. It’s possible that burglars wait a few weeks or longer before posting items, because they know victims will be looking. Continue to check back even months after the event.

Consult With Social Media

If you live in a small or tight knit neighborhood and community, it’s possible that neighbors will spot your stolen items. Use social media with discretion, but you can crowd-source photos of the items that were stolen from you.

This strategy will be especially useful if burglars stole large items, like a car, motorcycle, or anything is that will be noticeable in the neighborhood. Your neighbors are one of the best resources as crime deterrents, and a resource to solve a crime, because they have the same interest as you—protecting the community.

Purchase Home Security Equipment

Remember, the best way to find products, is to start at the beginning of the process and never have products taken at all. Do so by obtaining home security equipment. Simply having a sign that advertises that you are secure will deter burglars.

Don’t skip out on something so crucial for your home, family, and peace of mind.