Burglaries cause so much more than just a financial loss. Many stolen items have a sentimental value on top of a price tag value, and the knowledge that someone broke into your home steals away the safety and intimacy of the space as well. The loss hurts and feels so unfair. However, there are strategies to increase the likelihood of reclaiming your stolen items. Some of these processes might be too hard for you to handle by yourself after the trauma of the crime, so it’s a good opportunity for concerned family members and friends to help out when they ask, “is there anything I can do?”
Keep Serial Numbers
Whether it’s bikes or TVs, it’s important to keep a record of the serial numbers of your expensive belongings. So many of household items are mass produced these days that the serial number is the only uniquely identifiable aspect of most of our belongings. Some products (like bikes) can be registered online with the company or even a local organization so that a bike with your serial number has your name electronically attached to it on record.
Keeping the serial numbers of your belongings in your own records and online is a great way to make it easier for your items to be identified and harder for the burglar to sell.
Picture Perfect Memory
Some things don’t have serial numbers, like jewelry and other smaller valuables. When you acquire them, take pictures of them from many angles. These make it so much easier to describe when you’re looking for them if they’re stolen. Save them in a safe and accessible place so that you can find them later.
Make Your Mark
If something doesn’t have a serial number on them, make your own unique marks! On steel or wood items, have your name or initials engraved somewhere it can’t be easily sanded off. On softer items with cloth or plastic, use a permanent marker to mark your initials on a discrete part of it. Even better, use a UV pen that make invisible marks until revealed by a UV light. This doesn’t intrude on the look of the item but makes it easy to identify by the police. On expensive clothing, consider having initials tastefully embroidered onto the cloth.
So once your house has been burgled, the most important thing to do (as soon as you have a clear head) is to take an inventory of everything that was taken. It might also be useful to sort it by priority in terms of recovering items.
A crucial part of the process of recovering from a burglary is to report the crime as well as your list of stolen items to the police. While the rate of burglaries solved is rather low (it’s difficult to investigate a crime about something that isn’t there), having it officially in their records is always a good step to take. It could help them connect your case with other burglary cases. It gives them specific information about what you are looking for, and they may have insight on the best ways to recover them.
Pawn stores are a classic venue for thieves to unload their bounty. Looking through local pawn shops in both your area and the surrounding area yields a good chance for recovering stolen items. Go into pawn shops with a specific description of what you are looking for, but don’t mention that it was stolen. If you suspect that it is your item in the store, contact the police and let them take the investigation from there.
More and more transactions are going online these days, so it’s also a good idea to check craigslist, ebay, and other relevant sites where burglars may try to sell off their bounty urgently under the cover of perceived anonymity online. Search local pages as well as pages in surrounding areas. Don’t buy back your things. Give the information to the police and let them handle it from there.
Social Media Communities
Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Tell your story and let people in your community know about what is happening. You never know what or who they run into that might give you information about your things or your case!
Because electronics are such an expensive piece of property that is increasing in portability, it’s a common target for house burglars. To keep them secure and harder for burglars to sell, make sure they are all locked with strong passwords. For more information on how to create a strong password, read this guide.
Call the police to follow up on their progress with your case every once in a while to see if there have been any developments. They are very busy, but this keeps your case fresh in their minds, even if nothing has come up yet.
Security Camera Footage
A great resource to have when trying to resolve a burglary is to have security camera footage of the act. Modern security cameras are wireless and record only when the alarm is tripped (so you aren’t dealing with an overload of data). They upload that footage directly to the cloud, so there aren’t any lines to cut or hard drives to tamper with.
Burglaries are traumatic events that threaten the safety and peace of your home. We hope that some of these tips lead you to recover some of your stolen goods and even to catch the criminal behind the act. To help recover the peace of mind in your household, our security experts at Protect America are always sympathetic and ready to help. If you have any questions, call us today at 1-888-951-4136.