Few feelings are worse than the one you get when your apartment is broken into. You frantically search for your most valuable belongings. You’re angry and scared. You feel violated and vulnerable. But all isn’t lost. Find out what to do when you experience the worst: an apartment break-in.
Step #1: Stay calm.
It’s important to keep a level head in the event of an apartment break-in, whether it happens while you’re there or you find evidence after the fact.
Step #2: Be extra safe.
Call 911 immediately if you suspect that the burglar is still in your apartment. Do NOT go room to room searching for the thief, even if you think you’re prepared.
Step #3: Report the crime.
Once you know that you, your roommates, and your pets are safe, it’s time to report the apartment break-in to law enforcement. Phone your local police’s non-emergency number and tell them what happened. In the meantime, try not to move anything around.
Step #4: Survey the scene in your apartment.
If you notice anything peculiar in your apartment that might help the police in their investigation, make sure you tell them about it when they arrive at the scene. Some helpful things to know would be possible entry and exit points, items left behind that do not belong to you, and likely sources of fingerprints.
Step #5: Document the damage.
Make detailed notes and take pictures of anything the thieves damaged. This will help your landlord and your insurance company determine the amount and the method that you will be compensated for your lost belongings.
Step #6: Contact your landlord or property manager.
Notify your landlord or property manager about the break-in. They may be able to provide temporary residence or other resources to aid in your recovery. Discuss a strategy with them about improving apartment security.
Step #7: Talk to your neighbors.
Contact your neighbors as soon as possible to discover whether they witnessed anything unusual around the time when the break-in occurred.
Step #8: Contact your renters insurance provider.
Once you have a list of damaged or stolen personal property, call your renters insurance company to file a claim. The representative you speak to will most likely request a detailed account of what has been stolen or damaged.
Step #9: Take some time to de-stress.
Break-ins can be traumatic. It’s best to ease yourself back into normal apartment life slowly. If you need help re-adjusting, seek a professional counselor.
Step #10: Reduce your chances of another break-in.
Invest in some added security to make sure this never happens again. Hide your valuables, lock your doors, and keep a light on at night while you’re away. Take some extra precautions before you head out on extended trips. Most importantly, make it difficult for anyone but you to access your apartment.
A break-in doesn’t necessarily mean that you can break your lease, but in some circumstances it does. Talk to your landlord and head to ApartmentSearch to find a new apartment where you feel safe and secure.