What to Do After a Burglary

If you’ve just suffered a home burglary you may simply be asking what do I do now? Whether you’re in panic mode or you’re just not sure where to turn, learn what to do immediately after a home burglary, these tips will help you get through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Step 1. Call the Police

Calling the police is always the first thing you should do after a home burglary.

If you are not in the house and/or you think the burglar may still be there:

This is an emergency. From your locked car or a neighbour’s house call 999

If you are sure the burglars have left:

This is not an emergency. Call your local police station or the metropolitan police on 0300 123 1212

The longer you wait to call the police, the lower their chances of catching the thieves and returning your stolen goods.

When the police arrive they will interview you and inspect the crime scene. Neighbours and witnesses will be interviewed at a later date. The police will issue you with a crime reference number which you need to give to your insurance company.

A forensic team will then come to your home within 4 hours of you reporting the break-in. They will collect forensic evidence, such as fingerprints so it’s essential you do not move or touch anything before the police and the forensic team have finished conducting their research.

The police will keep you informed about how your case is progressing. If a suspect is charged, the witness care unit will update you on the investigation. They will provide you with information in order to attend court should you need to. They will also keep you informed about how the investigation is progressing through the criminal justice system until your case is closed.

Step 2. Evaluate your property and belongings

When the police arrive at your home make a thorough and complete list of all the items that have either been damaged or stolen. Include as many details as you can about the items and their value. Give this list to the police and make sure you have other copies to save for your own records and give to your insurance company.

Take photographs or video footage of your damaged property. You will need this to show to your insurance company to prove certain items were taken and that your home was damaged in the process.

Step 3. Call your insurance company

If you have insurance you will need to file a claim within 24 hours of filing a report with the police, so it’s essential that you call them as soon as you can. It’s likely that a claim adjuster will come and inspect your home and the damage caused so it’s important that at this stage you still have not moved or touched anything unless the police tell you to.

You may also need to tell your insurance company if your car keys have been taken as there is a risk the burglar may come back to steal your vehicle. Your car insurance company will arrange for your car to be taken in to re-programme your spare key. They may also give you a replacement key or card. Check your insurance policy as your insurers may cover some of the cost.

Step 4. Call your bank

After you’ve called the police and spoken to your insurance company you’ll need to call your bank if any of your cards, cheques, etc. were stolen. You’ll also need to call if a computer, tablet, phone etc. with banking information and financial data was taken. It’s important that you call your bank and financial institutions as soon as possible to avoid fraud and any more theft. Your bank will be able to place an immediate block on your cards being used and issue replacements.

Step 5. Notify others

Consider everything that was taken and who else you may need to notify:

  • If your drivers license was taken you should apply for a replacement card immediately
  • If your pension or allowance books are taken, notify the issuing authority
  • If your passport was taken notify the police and the office that issued your passport to cancel it, once this has been done you can apply for a new passport
  • If your mobile phone or other electronic goods have been stolen notify your network provider straight away, they will block the phone from being used
  • If your library card was stolen you may incur fees for items not returned, notify your library
  • Notify your neighbours of the burglary, so that you may gather more information from them and to help them stay on alert for your property and their own

Step 6. Clean up and repair the damage

Once the break-in has been fully documented by the police and your insurance company you can begin the process of repairing the damage. Board up any broken doors or windows until a repair company can come and fix the damage. Then clean up all the other signs of the break-in. It’s important to get your home as secure as possible, as quickly as possible after a burglary without interfering with the police investigation or your insurance claims.

Step 7. Look after yourself

Besides simply losing valuables and causing damage to your home, burglaries can leave you and your loved ones feeling unsafe, insecure and cause emotional damage. Once you’ve dealt with all of the immediate actions you need to start thinking about taking care of yourself and your family. If a home burglary has left you feeling anxious, consider calling Victim Support, a national charity that provides free and confidential support to victims and witnesses of crime and their families.

Contact Victim Support on: 0845 30 30 900

Step 8. Apply preventative measures

To help make you feel safer and secure in your own home and reduce the risk of a second home burglary there are certain preventative measures that you can now take. Look into ways of making your home more safe in the future, such as upgrading your doors, windows and locks and installing a security system. Check out some of our helpful home security tips to prevent your home from being burgled again.

Download our handy checklist to mark the items off as you go. This will help ensure you don’t miss any vital steps in the aftermath of your home burglary.


Download our handy checklist to mark the items off as you go. This will help ensure you don’t miss any vital steps in the aftermath of your home burglary.