Crime statistics suggest that unfortunately many South African homeowners may experience their home being broken into at some stage. The latest figures in Stats SA’s Public Safety and Justice Survey (GPSJS) 2018/19 reveal that there were about 1,3 million incidences of housebreaking affecting 5,8% of households in South Africa.
According to Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, that is why security is a top priority for many homebuyers and homeowners alike. However, even with security measures in place, there is the chance of becoming a victim of a home burglary.
If you do ever have the unfortunate experience of being a victim of a break-in, RE/MAX of Southern Africa outlines the process homeowners can follow thereafter:
Leave home and call the police
It is best not to touch anything and call the police or home security company as soon as possible. Finding that the home has been burgled may leave your emotions running high. In this state, you may find yourself running from room to room looking for the intruder or cleaning up the mess that has been left behind. However, it is best to take yourself out of the situation and wait until the police arrive. Doing so will protect both yourself and any evidence that can be used to apprehend the culprits.
Talk to neighbours
Talking to neighbours will serve two purposes: one being that they could have seen or heard something that will be useful to the police; and two, to alert them to the criminal element in the area. Warn the neighbours to be vigilant and to keep an eye out for any suspicious-looking characters.
Contact your insurance
If the household items were insured, the insurance company would need to be notified. Having home insurance is the only way that a homeowner will be able to recover any financial loss incurred during a burglary. Ideally, a homeowner should take photos of their valuables and high-tickets items to keep a record that can be used to identify any of the stolen items.
Search for lost valuables
After the crime scene clears, there are follow-up measures to assist in retrieving lost valuables. You could search online classified adverts for people trying to sell your belongings. If anything is found, report it to the police who can investigate the matter and hopefully get the goods returned. Another place to look is local pawn shops. Most pawn shops will require the seller to bring in a form of identification before trading an item for cash. If you can produce a receipt for the item or a photograph accompanied by a police report, the pawn shop will return the stolen item that has been proven to be yours.
“While it may take some time, victims of a burglary will need to find ways to move forward and start the healing process. It can often help to make some changes to the home to help prevent it from happening again. Changing the locks and upgrading or investing in a home security system will help you feel a lot safer. Alternatively, it might be time to search for a new home in a safer suburb