Every 16.4 seconds, a burglary occurs in the United States, and 74 percent of those break-ins happen to residential properties. A burglary is traumatizing for the victims, but it can also be frightening for your entire neighborhood. If a burglary occurs in your neighborhood, here are the first three steps you should take.
1. Lend a Hand to Your Neighbors
In the aftermath of a burglary, your neighbors are likely scared and upset. Their property has possibly been damaged and their sense of security and safety has been violated. You can help your neighbors cope by reminding them they are not alone in the recovery process. Offer to help them clean up and repair any damages. If their property has been severely damaged, you and your other neighbors can consider hosting a neighborhood fundraiser and donating the funds to the family to help pay for home repairs and replacements. You may also consider welcoming them into your home and letting them stay in a spare bedroom until their home is repaired or they feel more at ease. Whether they stay in your home or in their own, keep in frequent contact. While it may sound small, sometimes the best thing you can do is simply remind the family you are there for them, whatever their needs.
Together with your neighbors, you may consider implementing community safety initiatives, such as a neighborhood watch program. By looking out for one another’s homes, keeping your eye out for suspicious activity, and checking in on a neighbor’s home when they are on vacation, you and your neighbors may feel more secure.
2. Talk with Your Family
If you have children, talk with them about how they are feeling in reaction to the burglary. They may be worried about a burglary happening to their own home, or they may wonder why burglaries happen in the first place. As a family, have an open conversation about the burglary that occurred and let your children share their reactions and any concerns they have.
You can also take this time to remind your children about safety basics, including never opening the door to strangers and using the buddy system. Consider establishing a neighborhood “safe house” where your children can go if they feel unsafe when home alone. Make sure this home is within easy walking distance and that the family is one with which your children are comfortable.
3. Update the Security of Your Home
After a neighborhood burglary, you may not feel as safe in your own home. Burglars often return to homes and areas where they have been successful, so take proper precautions by securing your home to help prevent a burglary from happening. Start by updating your door locks. Make sure the frames and hinges are strong and that you have a deadbolt on the front door. If any exterior locks have started to rust or are outdated, update them to stronger and more modern options. Next, ensure all your windows have locks on them and can be securely closed, even those on the second floor. If you don’t already have a home security system in place, start exploring available options within your budget.
While a neighborhood burglary is frightening, don’t let fear consume your community. By supporting your neighbors, ensuring your family knows the basics of safety, and installing home security measures, you can help protect your home.