What To Do After An Attempted Break-In? (Next Steps)

The moment you come home and see that someone tried to break in is a moment of pure terror. It is the exact moment a million questions are starting to form. What happens now? Did they get in somewhere else? Is my family safe?

It is these questions that lead to what can I do to prevent this from ever happening again. I knew right away that there had to be something I could do to feel safe again.

What should you do after an attempted break-in? First, call the police and file a report, but don’t touch the scene of the crime. Next, you should upgrade your security at home with new alarms, new locks, security cameras if you can, and sensors.

What To Do After An Attempted Break-In

Call the Police

I know you might be tempted to go inside and try and see if they got in or touch where they did. Don’t.

The simple fact is that you should not touch anything before the police get there. It helps them see that nothing has been touched, and it may help figure out who did it.

The most important tip here is that you call the police and tell them exactly what you see and the events that happened.

The police should be tracking crime in the area. Now, I’m assuming that your area is, and in that case, it is important to tell them how it happened.

For me, it was the side door of the house. No one can really see the side of the house other than my neighbor, who is rarely home. It made for a pretty perfect spot that I wasn’t aware of.

The only thing that stopped the person from getting into my home was the lock on the inside of the door that can’t be unlocked from outside.

The police were able to see what happened and what stopped the person from coming inside. The outside was a mess with the broken doorframe and the drilled through the lock.

It wasn’t a pretty sight to see, but it was something the police had seen before. It allowed them to make a case and allowed me to have a sense of security that they were looking for someone.


Upgrade your home security

This is going to be one of the things that need to happen.

The first thing to look at is going to be new locks for your doors. That is the easiest step, as you can now pick between having a new key or go keyless. For me, the choice was pretty easy; I wanted to have a new set of keys as a reminder that I was safe.

Rekey vs Changing Locks: What should you do?

From there, you can look into various security systems. 

What kind you get depends on the level of safety that you feel is right. For some, that is just a simple alarm system, and for others, that means security cameras.

For me, the right choice was one that involved cameras that way, I could keep an eye on the side door and all my doors. The one that I went with was Vivint, which came with the security camera option.

It was enough to make me feel secure in my home and allowed me to check in on things when I was away. It also allows me to look at who is there, even if I’m not home with their app.

It’s an added comfort that I didn’t expect would come in so handy, but it has. I can answer the door without even being home, and that is enough to make people think twice.

After the attempted break-in, I also added sensors to the doors and windows. If they opened while the system was armed, then the alarm would go off. This is one of the recommend things to do, even before a break-in happens.

The sound should be loud enough that it will alert other people in the area that something is going on that shouldn’t be. It should run the person off since their goal is not to be caught.

About 60% of convicted burglars admitted that if there is a security system in place that they would have found another house. This could be just the sign out front or actually seeing the alarm system in place. About 65% of burglars know the people they are going to target.

If you have a home security system in place, it lowers your chance of you becoming a target for them.


Get A Guard Dog

Dogs are a huge commitment, and not every place allows for pets to be there.

Make sure to check with your housing area if you rent. There are often added prices when it comes to apartments, and it may not be worth the extra money.

Renting also brings restrictions on the breed of dog you can have. It is fairly common that most places will not allow you to have a pit bull terrier of any kind—even mutts of the breed.

If you can afford a dog, then make sure to do your research. There is no need to get a giant dog to guard the place. In fact, you could have a medium-sized friendly dog, and it would be okay. The key here is a dog.

Truthfully, having a bully breed is going to deter people the most. However, most dogs can give away when their owners aren’t home. They have body language just like us humans do, and that can tell someone you aren’t there.

Honestly, if you want to get down to it, you don’t need a dog at all. What you need is a sign that says “beware of dog.”

See, burglars don’t like dogs. It is enough to deter most people since you never know what kind of dog could be lurking behind closed doors.

A dog is a hassle that most aren’t willing to deal with. The suggestion that there is a bully breed inside is often enough to make someone move on.


Make It Look Like You’re Home When You’re Not

You won’t always be home, but there are measures you can take to make it seem like you are.

One of the biggest things that you can do is get your lights on timers. The timers are typically easy to install, and you can set them up easily. They come on when you aren’t home to make it look like someone is inside. By setting up different timers in different rooms, you can light up different rooms easily.

Plus, if you opt into a security system that has in place the ability to control your lights, you can do everything from your phone! Simple, and you don’t even have to mess with the timers on your lights.

Speaking of lights, do you have lights on the outside of your home? Although about 40% of burglaries happen during the day, there are the ones that happen at night.

Having a dark exterior of your home is a big red flag for safety. This makes it easier for someone to hide in the shadows and break in without alerting anyone.

Having motion detector lights all around your house, like above doors and on the side of your home can help prevent easy access during the night.

Another thing to make sure of is, can your valuables be seen from the outside? Take a step outside and see if you can spot anything of value from the sidewalk. If you can see it, so can the burglar.

Thick curtains and blinds are an excellent step to keep your home safer. If you can’t see anything on the inside, then how will they know that you have something of value?

One more thing to stop people from targeting your home is to have the post office hold your mail if you are gone for more than a day or two.

People looking to break into your home will take notice if you haven’t picked up your mail in a few days. If there is no mail waiting in your mailbox, then it is likely they will simply move on.

People look for patterns, though, so if you travel often, it might be good to invest in a P.O. Box for your important mail and have a neighbor pick up the rest.


Emotional Acceptance

A break-in or attempted break-in, there is an invasion of privacy. It can really feel like you aren’t safe or able to be safe.

Just like, with all things, time will heal this. It helps to step up your security game, but the best thing you can do is accept that it happened. Then keep living your life in your home.

Do everything you can to fix the issues and then keep going. Don’t let it stop you from living your life.


Conclusion: What To Do After An Attempted Break In?

In a world filled with uncertainty, it is hard to feel safe. There are about 350,000 homes broken into every year, and one of them could be yours. If you have recently had a break-in attempt, then this is the time to beef up your security system.

What can you do to feel safe if this is so common?

Well, if you want to help your neighbors out, start a neighborhood watch. This means that your neighbors will watch your house, and you will watch their house. There has always been safety in numbers, after all. Plus, it allows for you and your neighbors to grow closer together.

At the end of the day, protecting your home is key. If you are lucky enough not to know what a break-in feels like, then take this time to check your home.

Find the weak spots now that you know what people are looking for—easy entry and escape. Remember, most burglaries happen in 12 minutes max. Stepping up your security game will pay off.


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Photo of author


Edward Clark
Edward Clark, with 15 years of hands-on experience, is a distinguished expert in smart locks and home security systems. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a focus on Cybersecurity and is a member of the Electronic Security Association (ESA). His credentials include certifications from ASIS International, IAPP, CompTIA, NTS, and CEDIA. With expertise spanning risk management, electronic security, and data privacy, he's been featured in The Guardian, Forbes, Wired, and more. Edward's mission: guiding individuals toward secure homes using the latest technologies.

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