Over the years, we have grown used to the fact that if somebody breaks into a home, they will definitely steal something.
Does that mean if nothing gets stolen, we can breathe a sigh of relief then?
The thing is, we are not in the clear just because nothing got stolen. There may be more going on in the background that we need to consider.
Reasons Why Somebody Would Break In and Not Take Anything
There are several different scenarios that we have to consider.
They Were Looking For Specific Items
If nothing gets stolen during a break-in, this could mean that the criminals were looking for something very specific they wanted to steal.
- They may have been looking for drugs, prescription medicine, or cash. Those are easier to use and harder to trace. Certain items such as jewelry, electronics, phones, cameras, personal computers, Play Stations, and large TVs are a lot easier to trace or harder to carry or pawn and pose a significant risk for the intruder.
- The perpetrators may have been looking to steal identities. This could be the case, especially if the inhabitants are wealthy, have political or business associations and connections, or are high-profile figures.
They Broke Into the Wrong Property
It is entirely possible that the offenders have hit up the wrong house or have been tipped up about the wrong house.
This could be the case if the inhabitants have moved in recently.
The intruders may have been looking for something specific that the previous tenants were known to have or possess, and once they realized that was not the case anymore, they immediately left.
They Have Been Testing the Waters and Might Return Later
Burglars are known to sometimes return to the same property they have previously burglarized.
Sometimes they can break in to see how quickly the police, the tenants, or the neighbors will react and if there is a security system in place.
This can be considered a test run to also see if there is anything worth stealing and plan escape routes.
Consider the possibility that the criminals may have been casing your home or following you.
Now that they have scoped the place and have a good idea of the internal layout of the property and your routine, they can return with a well-prepared plan and be more efficient.
They Might Have Been Kids or a Random Person Messing Around
Even though that may not be very common, consider the possibility of kids goofing around or trying to play a prank on you.
It could also be a case of a neighbor or somebody who’s been under the influence thinking this is their home.
It is also possible that this has been an intimidating move that may be directed toward you or the previous tenants if you have recently moved in.
They Might Have Been Spooked
In certain cases, the burglars may simply have been spooked off by a neighbor or something else.
If they have been interrupted during the burglary, they may have decided to play it safe and leave even though they have not been able to steal anything of value.
This, of course, means that they may return later, which brings us nicely to the next point.
What to Do After Such a Break-In
If your home has been burglarized and nothing has been stolen, there are several things that you should do.
Install a Home Security System
Since burglars are known to return to burglarized homes, it is important to ensure your home is properly protected after the first break-in.
An excellent way to up your home security is by getting a home security system. Look for home security systems that have real-time notifications and feed, allow for two-way audio, have a number of different sensors and smart devices, and, ideally, are monitored 24/7 by a professional team.
Also, make sure everything is kept locked from now on. Take extra measures to secure your doors and windows if necessary.
Also, check crawl spaces, the basement, attic, garage, shed, and other areas that may have been tampered with and may be used later by the same intruders to gain access to your home.
Don’t forget to check for small items that may be missing, such as spare keys or doors and windows that may have been left unlocked. The criminals may try to gain access by going through those.
Check for Bugs and Monitoring Devices
It is possible that your home has been bugged.
Inspect for listening devices and cameras and make sure to be very thorough, and check everywhere.
Unfortunately, this could be a lengthy process.
Small spy cameras and microphones can be hidden in many places, such as outlets, light bulbs, smoke sensors, ceiling fans, vents, toys, and many other items.
Block Credit Cards and Check Important Documents
Block and cancel your credit cards and debit cards. Even though they may not have been stolen, the intruders may have taken pictures of the cards and are planning to use them later.
As an extra security measure, talk to your bank. Depending on the information the criminals have gathered on you, they may not even need the specific credit card numbers to access your accounts in the future.
Monitor your credit report and bank transactions closely. Consider reissuing your cards.
Don’t forget to inspect your checkbook. Criminals are known to steal checks from the back of checkbooks and cash them in later.
Also, double-check your passport, birth certificate, and other important documents and financial paperwork.
Change Passwords, Locks, Account Numbers
The next thing you should do is change your door and window locks and deadbolts.
Thoroughly check your computer, especially if it is not password-protected.
The thieves may have been looking for specific information, or they may have installed malware on your computer.
Consider replacing your router, as the old one may have been manipulated and compromised in some way.
Check for USB dongles that the intruders may have installed.
Report the Beak-in to the Police and Your Neighbors
Make sure to report the break-in to the police as soon as possible.
Even if the police end up being unable to do much, it is better to have the break-in officially reported.
Talk to your neighbors and let them know what happened.
They may be able to help if they have seen something, and even if they haven’t, they are more likely to keep a watchful eye for anything that looks suspicious around your neighborhood.
Replace Personal Hygiene Items and Food and Water
It is not completely impossible for the criminals to have messed around with personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, shampoos, or razor blades.
Consider replacing those.
The same concern applies to your food and water. You might be better off discarding items that may have been tampered with.
If your home has been broken into and nothing has been stolen, it is very likely that the thieves have been looking for something particular to steal, like cash, drugs, identities, or jewelry. It is also possible that the break-in was a mistake, a prank, or was connected to the previous tenants.
In any case, you have to up your home’s security. Look into getting renters’ insurance as well.
Consider the possibility of your home being marked or you being followed.