The leafy suburbs of St Albans may seem safe, but what should you do if you're burgled?
PUBLISHED: 10:20 08 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:20 08 March 2016
Local locksmiths Fort Locks, based in London Colney, have sent us their 5 important tips for what to do when you've been burgled.
A burglary can be an invasive and upsetting experience, often leaving individuals feeling unsettled and exposed in their own home. However, it’s important to act quickly to make your home secure again. If you’ve been burgled, here are our 5 top tips to help you deal with the incident and make your home safe.
1. Call the police immediately. If you’re in St Albans, Harpenden or elsewhere in Hertfordshire, call Hertfordshire Police on 101 or 01707 354000. You’ll be able to log the incident, get a crime number for insurance purposes and help the police to track down the perpetrators.
In an emergency or if the burglar is still in the area, call 999.
2. Secure your home to prevent further break-ins. Contact a local locksmith who will be able to come out to your home, repair any forced locks and advise you on measures you can take to keep your home secure and safe from intruders. Emergency locksmiths can be called out at any time of the day or night, so you don’t need to wait until morning. You may also need to get broken windows replaced. Again, there are 24-hour emergency window companies who will be able to help you straight away. For a reputable company, search on CheckATrade.
3. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible, to make sure you comply with all their terms and conditions for a claim. You’ll need a crime number from the police and they may require you to use a particular preferred company if any repairs need to be carried out.
4. Prevent future break-ins and safeguard your home by taking the following steps:
• Remember to lock all doors and windows every time you go out, even if you’re just popping out for a few minutes.
• Think like a burglar: be conscious of any valuable items in your home and don’t leave them in plain view of a window or letterbox. Outside your home, put away anything that could help an intruder gain access to your home, such as ladders and tools.
• Keep access paths and porches well lit to deter anyone who doesn’t want to be seen. Gravel driveways can also be off-putting to burglars because of the noise their footsteps will make approaching your house.
• Consider investing in one or more visible security items, such as a burglar alarm.
• If you are going away, don’t make this obvious to burglars. Consider putting lights on a timer, and perhaps ask a neighbour to park on your drive.
• Join your local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme to make your neighbourhood a safer place to live.
5. Get help and support if you feel you need it. Being burgled can be a traumatic experience, so your local Victim Support and other services are there if you need someone to talk to. The Hertfordshire Beacon can also help you access victim support and tell you what other help and support is available in your area.
Fort Locks’ website can be found at www.fortlocks.co.uk