I’ll be giving you 10 steps on what to do if you return home to find your house burgled, and how you can help our department out.
Firstly, we are all aware that everyone reacts differently when they discover such a thing. Some people can’t enter their home, others tidy up straight away. Ultimately how you deal with it is your decision, but here’s a few tips to help maximise the potential of forensic evidence:
1. Report it straight away. Due to weather conditions certain evidence may become lost. You can report a crime to us by calling 101, or if you suspect the offenders may still be in your property, call 999.
2. Be careful where you walk. If you can see where the offender has been, try to avoid walking around that area. Sometimes this can’t be avoided, and that’s ok, you can only do your best. Walk around the sides of the rooms if you can.
3. Try to avoid touching what the offender has touched. If the offender has made a mess, try to leave it for us to see. If we cannot get to you before bedtime, and the mess is over your bed or in the way, take a picture and carefully remove it. Do feel free to make yourself a cuppa if the kettle hasn’t been disturbed.
4. How has the offender gotten in? It may be that your property is now insecure and in need of repair. We like to arrive before anyone attends to board up or fix the insecurity, so please communicate this to our call handler if you have arranged for someone to attend. You should be given a rough idea of when we will attend, and if its reasonable for the insecurity to be fixed after our visit we would be grateful. If we cannot get to you until the next day, or if you have to go out, then please get this mended.
5. Look to see if anything has been moved. If something isn’t in its original location please let us know, there could be evidence on it.
6. Is there something which doesn’t belong to you? It could be that the offender has left something behind, and we would want to know.
7. Cover evidence left outside. If an item of potential evidence has been left outside, consider covering it with a bin lid, bucket etc.
8. Do you have security items fitted to your home? Check these are in working order. Has a security light been smashed, a CCTV camera been moved or an alarm box tampered with?
9. If you have CCTV, view it. You may see what the offender does or was wearing. This could help us.
10. And finally, remain calm. It’s much easier for me to say than what people go through, but help will be on its way. If you don’t feel safe until we arrive contact a family member, friend or neighbour. Maybe they can come and aid you.
Burglaries are an awful crime, which can sometimes leave behind more than what’s taken. If you’re suffering from the feeling of intrusion and having difficulty with it, please get in touch with us or Victim Support. They are an amazing charity that will help you get through it.
I hope this has been helpful, and wish you all the best.