Break in’s can be a traumatic and devastating experience for a family to experience. Not only do you lose your valuable possessions in the process, but it also stops your home from feeling safe. To prevent this from happening many homeowners install alarms, lights, and locks in their homes. These safety features can make your home feel safe and less likely to be broken into. Unfortunately, many homeowners forget to secure and protect their garage with the same care and attention. This has caused a rise in garages being targeted by thieves for their contents, which often includes cars. Having your car and contents taken from your garage can still be just as upsetting as your home. But if you act calmly and quickly, you increase your chances of having your belongings returned to you. So if you have just experienced a garage break in, cope with it more effectively by using this step by step guide.
Call the police straight away
The first step you need to take when you discover that your garage has been broken into it to call the police. Try to talk as clearly and calmly as you can throughout the call to make sure the information they receive is correct. This will make it easier for them to dispatch officers to your location and help them complete a crime report. It’s crucial that you make a report to the police, not only to help them to recover your stolen items but to backup your insurance claim too.
Never attempt to enter your garage or home until the police arrive just in case the burglar is still inside. This is particularly important if your garage is connected to your house. Go to a neighbor’s house instead and politely ask to use their phone to call the police if you need to. Not only will this keep you and your family safe, but it will also prevent any vital evidence from being damaged. It’s important for the police to see an untouched crime scene, so as tempting as it might be, refrain from entering. If you see the thief making their getaway, never make any attempt to follow or apprehend them yourself. Take note of what they are wearing, their age and sex and give this information to the police.
Establish what is missing
Once the police have determined how the thief entered your garage and have ensured it is safe, you can re-enter your garage. Before you establish which items have gone missing, use this opportunity to take photos of the crime scene. Try to take detailed photos that clearly show what damage has been caused by the thieves, as well as the mess they have caused. These will be vital evidence that your insurance company will require and ask for. So as upsetting as taking photos might be, it’s an important thing you must do. Now you have done this; you can start listing which items are missing.
Grab a notepad and pen and start listing which items have been stolen. Walk around your garage and carefully check every shelf, cabinet and storage box. While some items such as your car will be obvious, smaller and less obvious items may have also been taken. So try to check each area thoroughly. But don’t alter the scene too much. Once you have compiled a complete list, it’s also beneficial to write a description of each item. Try to include any unique marks or distinguishing characteristics they might have. For instance, your car might have personalized number plates, dents or unusual colors. If you have receipts and photographs of the items of the stolen items, this can also help the police and your insurance company.
Contact your insurance company
The next thing you need to do is contact your insurance company. This should be done promptly and ideally within 24 hours after the break in. They will then be able to gather all the relevant information they need from you and the police report. Some companies might send an investigator to your property to access the damage for themselves. This is why it is important not to tamper with the scene before the insurance company arrives. They will ask you questions, look at your damage and discuss what options you have now. Remember to show them your receipts and photographs for your stolen items during their visit. The result of their investigation can help you gain some compensation for the lost items or damaged caused.
Get the garage door repaired
Now that your garage has been given the all clear by your insurance company and the police it’s time to repair your garage door. This should be done as soon as possible to protect your home from future break-ins. You can head over to Neighborhood Garage Door Service Company website or contact another local garage repair service. You could also ask your insurance company for their recommendations on tradesmen who can help you. Invite them to your home to inspect the damage and to hear their suggestions. Listen to their expert opinions and consider whether a repair or replacement would be more suitable. If your current garage door is not giving your garage and belongings the protection it needs, upgrading it might be a sensible option. You could choose a new door that has a better locking system or is made with a sturdier material. Again, talk to the experts about which garage door options would be most suitable for your home.
Once your garage door has been replaced, you need to start making sure this experience doesn’t happen again. Get into the habit of locking your garage when it’s not in use. Installing frosted glass and use padlocks inside to keep your belongings secure. You will also need to make sure that the new door is properly maintained from now on.
Whether you have had your garage broken into or not, knowing what to do in this situation is crucial. The sooner you act after the break in has occurred the better the chance of the culprits being caught and your belongings being returned to you.