Burglaries on the Rise in Western Australia – What Should You Do if You’re a Victim?
Crime figures from the Western Australia police have shown a rise in offences such as burglaries and motor vehicle thefts for 2017. While certain serious crimes have gone down, and the region is mostly safe, burglaries have risen in the Metropolitan, Goldfields-Esperance, and other districts. Unfortunately, due to the rise in the use of drug use, it’s more important than ever for those who live in Perth and the surrounding areas to take preventative measures to protect their home. But what should you do if the worst happens and you discover someone has broken into your home?
Don’t enter your home
Most burglary victims will notice something amiss when they see a door left ajar or a smashed window. Your first instinct may be to run into the house and confront the thief or start rooting around to see what’s missing, but this is a bad idea for your personal safety. Stay outside and call the police so they can advise what to do next. There’s always a small chance the burglar may still be lurking in your property, and you simply don’t know whether they’re dangerous.
Don’t touch anything
Most police departments are quick to come out to burglaries, and they’ll want to take photos and gather evidence. That’s why it’s important not to disturb anything or try to clean up. If possible, go to a neighbour’s house or stay in the car if there’s a delay in the police showing up.
Take note of what’s missing
The police may take an inventory of the bigger, expensive items that are missing, but you should also make a list of everything that has gone. Some common items that are stolen include:
- Laptops/tablets – these can contain sensitive information, so make sure you change passwords
- Car keys – some thieves will steal car keys, then come back for the vehicle later
- Jewellery – small, easy to sell items such as jewellery are often the first things taken
- Prescription drugs
- Spare house keys – thieves have even been known to wait until the owner replaces items, and burgle them a second time
Secure your home
If spare sets of home or car keys have been stolen, then the locks will need to be changed as soon as possible. Luckily, there are emergency locksmiths available in Perth and the surrounding cities, which means they can get to your home quickly. Two-thirds of burglaries are through doors and windows, so they should be boarded up while you’re waiting for repairs, and you should check how the thief accessed your home so you can add extra security measures.
Notify your insurer
It’s important to speak to your insurer as soon as possible to confirm the details of the burglary. Any delays in making a claim can mean it’s less likely to be accepted, so call them while the details are still fresh in your mind. You’ll need the incident report number from the police, plus details of anything stolen, although you might not know everything that’s missing at this point.
If you’re a tenant, you should also notify your landlord as soon as possible. Most reputable landlords will have their own insurance to cover burglary damages, otherwise, they’re likely to be liable for the repair costs. If you can’t get through to them and need your locks changed urgently, or need to get a repair done, then keep the receipt so you can be reimbursed.
Gather documents for your claim
Insurers may ask for proof of ownership for any items you’re claiming for and may require photos of the damage. Therefore, it’s worth getting receipts or bank statements together, showing when items were purchased, and uploading photos ready to send.
Prevent further break-ins
Burglary can be very upsetting for victims, so it’s important to find out from the police how and why your home was burgled. Were there expensive items on display? Was the door easily kicked down? The police will usually put a report together, so you can add home security measures that prevent it happening again.
Remember, if you buy replacements for expensive items, take the boxes straight to the tip rather than leaving them in the bin outside your home. Some unfortunate homeowners have replaced stolen goods, only to have the shiny new replacements stolen too.
While burglaries are up in certain areas of Western Australia, it’s still thankfully a rare occurrence. However, if you’re unlucky and it happens to you, it’s important to keep calm and notify the police and to take the steps mentioned above so you can get your home secure and get back to normal.