While York is considered one of the safer university towns, with comparatively fewer burglaries than other areas across the UK, no area is immune to crime. Indeed, burglary is considered one of the most common domestic crimes committed, and its effect can be devastating regardless of the items taken.
The realisation that a stranger has entered your home to steal your property is something that nobody ever wants to have to deal with; however, many students and young people find themselves the victims of such a crime each year. Would you know what do if you were burgled? How would you advise a friend that had fallen victim to crime? Unlike some other kinds of crime that are committed each day, burglary can be utterly terrifying, leaving an emotional impact that runs far deeper than the loss of personal belongings. It is, therefore, essential that you’re always prepared for the possibility, and that you take steps to protect your accommodation from anyone that may be looking for an easy property to burgle.
Best foot forward: picking up the pieces following a burglary
Nobody wants to think about being burgled, but such crimes are an unfortunate fact. The way you cope, and act, during the immediate aftermath of a burglary will determine the situation’s resolution, and the way you’re able to deal with the emotional stress that will accompany the damage to, or theft of items, and the invasion of your privacy.
The immediate aftermath
It’s so easy to lose your head following a burglary, however, it’s vital that you take a moment to compose yourself and then follow the correct procedure. Call the police as soon as you’re able, and make sure you write down as many details as you can; is the burglar’s entry point obvious? Were you at home at the time? What do you remember about the incident? The police will need as much information as you can provide, so gather details while they’re fresh in your mind.
In addition to details of the incident, now is the time to create an inventory of the damage that’s been done and the items that are missing because this will be important when it comes to filing an insurance claim. If you have your phone to hand, take photos of any damage to be submitted alongside the police report.
Making those important phone calls
As soon as you’ve filed a police report and have a crime number, it’s important to contact the relevant authorities if certain items are stolen. If debit and credit cards, bank account documents, your passport or driving licence, or similar items were stolen, you must report their loss and begin the process of replacing them. Now is also the time to contact your insurer, and to report the loss of any items covered by your contents insurance. If you are in rented accommodation you must also inform the owner or agent as soon as possible.
Securing your home
It’s natural to feel unsafe in your own home following a burglary, but you must think about securing your accommodation to prevent further attempts – and for your own peace of mind. In the immediate aftermath of the burglary board up any broken windows and doors while you await emergency glass repair, because the sooner these fixtures can be replaced and strengthened, the better.
You may also consider calling in a locksmith to change all the locks, or to install new, better, mechanisms. Were any spare keys stolen during the burglary? You can never be too careful. Once your home is secured, consider the ways in which you can safeguard against future burglary attempts. Now is the time to identify your home’s weaknesses, and to resolve them. House alarms and security monitors are a fantastic idea, while simply ensuring that doors and windows are closed and secured, and leaving a light on if you’re out for an evening, can vastly reduce your risks of falling victim to a burglar. Finally, register your items with a site such as immobilise.com, and install disabling software that will render items such as phones and laptops useless should they be stolen; just remember to back up all of your work.
Don’t be afraid to talk to someone
Discovering that you’ve been burgled, or listening in fear as a stranger enters your home with the intention of stealing your treasured belongings, can be incredibly difficult to come to terms with. It will take time before you feel safe in your own home again, and you may even find that leaving the confines of your accommodation has become a challenge. It is essential that you find someone you can talk to, whether that’s a friend or family member, a tutor or member of staff at your college or university, a counsellor or professional organisation, or a police liaison officer. Feeling afraid is nothing to be ashamed of, and you’ll find that friendly ear instantly reassuring during the aftermath of the burglary. In addition to reaching out be sure to keep to your routine, and try to maintain a positive attitude. A burglary is emotionally disturbing, but you can, and will, get past the event and move on.
The discovery of a burglary can be devastating; the thought of a stranger having ransacked your home can be deeply distressing. Many of the procedures you’ll undergo following a burglary, including filing a report, contacting your insurance company, and securing your home, will come naturally and somewhat robotically, as you gather yourself. Other processes, such as coming to terms with the theft, learning to feel safe in your own home again, and moving forward can be more difficult. However you cope in the aftermath of a burglary it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Please turn to those around you, do all you can to maintain your routine, and apply a positive attitude as far as you can; don’t let burglary spoil the university experience, and remember that we’re all here to help.