Coming home to a busted door, pushing it open to find your furniture and home ransacked and overturned, many valuables either broken or missing. Your heart sinks and your world turns into a violent mix of emotions: despair, anger, and confusion. Experiencing a burglary and break-in is traumatizing and takes away the sense of security and safety in this one place you call home. However, taking action as soon as you discover the crime is critical to getting your life put back together. Here are a few initial steps to take once the dust has settled.

File a Report With the Police

Yes, you need to call the police as soon as possible. Consider calling them before you even enter the house if you think the intruder might still be inside. Waiting for police to arrive also ensures that the scene of the crime is perfectly preserved and not disturbed at all. If you do enter the house, take pictures and try not to touch anything. Give the police a complete list of items that were stolen. If you kept serial numbers of your valuables, hand that list over, too. The more specific you can be, the better. If you have pictures of your home before the burglary, those can be extremely useful for identifying missing items. Filing a report sooner rather than later increases the chance that the burglar will be caught and your items recovered. It creates an official record of the incident, and you never know what the police might turn up.

Call Your Insurance Company

If you have a homeowner’s insurance, call the insurance company right away to inform them of the situation. Many plans include coverage for burglaries, and you might discover that you can recoup a large portion of what was lost. This is another reason it is useful to have a complete and itemized list of stolen items. An official police report will also be useful to have in this call. Also, while you have your insurance agent on the line, check to make sure you are receiving the largest homeowners insurance discount possible thanks to your investment in a home security system.

Review Video Footage

It’s going to be difficult to watch the footage captured by security cameras of your home and most private spaces be violated by a criminal. If you have friends or family who ask for ways to help or to “call them if you need anything,” this might be a good task to delegate to them. In any case, emotionally prepare yourself. The footage and the information gleaned from it should be given to police as an update and further documented proof of the incident.

Talk to Your Neighbors

Let your neighbors know what happened. They might have some insight into the situation if they were home and heard a noise or saw a suspicious vehicle or persons. Even if they don’t, it is also good for them to know that this crime happened close to their homes. Hopefully, they will be more vigilant as well. Spreading awareness in the community will increase the safety of the community as well.

Check with Pawn Shops and Internet Resale Sites

So the burglars got away with your property. Ever wonder what they plan to do with it? Many thieves look for anonymous and quick ways to flip their loot. Local pawn shops, Craigslist, and social media are easy venues for them to quickly sell their stolen goods. Check in these same places to see if you find any of your items on display. This is another good task to delegate to a few friends or family who are trying to offer help and sympathy. If you identify something, call the police first. Don’t try to contact the seller or try to buy it back. Here are 10 ways you can go about recovering your property.

Be Easy On Yourself

This is an emotionally difficult situation that has damaged so many parts of your life. Give yourself time off. Find peace and forgiveness. Practice self-care. Accept acts and gifts of kindness and love from others. You deserve better than this situation.

When you’re ready, start thinking about ways to improve your home security to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Did your security alarm go off? Did you have cameras to record the event? Which entrance did they use? Was it locked? If you’re ready to ask these questions and find answers, Protect America’s home security specialists are ready to listen to your story and improve the safety of your home. We know peace of mind is priceless, but it should be affordable and easy; you’ve already lost enough. Give Protect America a call at 1-888-951-5136.