December 22, 2015 Suffering from a burglary to one’s home can be a very traumatic and demoralizing event. Families can lose not only a sense of security in their own homes but also priceless heirlooms. Proper measures taken both before and after the fact can help to ameliorate loss, achieve justice, and restore peace of mind for victims of residential burglary. The First Moments Upon recognizing a burglary on your home, do not enter. The burglars might still be present within the home and might be both numerous and dangerous. Many burglaries have been elevated to homicides because a homeowner returns home and interrupts the burglary process. Call police immediately and wait at a safe distance from the residence and out of possible view of offenders. While you wait, observe. It is very possible that you might gain a visual inspection of the offenders that will allow you to identify them later. Although the temptation might exist to intervene, leave this work to the professionals. The police work in groups, wear bullet resistant vests, have radios to communicate with colleagues, and are trained to deal with searching for offenders within a residence. Preserve Evidence Crucial pieces of evidence might be contaminated and therefore rendered useless by touching, moving or discarding items. Evidence can be used to identify offenders, and this might not only help achieve justice, but also allow recovery of property. Do not flush any human waste that might occupy toilets. Disturbing the orientation of items might hide signature patterns, or modus operandi of the offenders. Do not disturb the anything; allow evidence technicians to do their work on an undisturbed scene. Be a Detective, Yourself Look for missing items in local pawn shops. Search online venues such as Craigslist, EBay, and other sites where goods are auctioned or sold by the general public. This is one area in which your involvement will not interfere with police efforts. Although police investigators should undertake this task, two pairs of eyes searching for items are better than one, and no matter how diligent, seasoned, or professional a police detective might be, nobody will search harder for your items than you. Preventive Measures Alarm systems, quality locks, and secure windows can help to prevent burglaries, or stop them in the initial phases. Proper insurance coverage can provide financial restitution upon loss. It is important to speak with a competent insurance agent to cover all items of value in a home. Some special categories, such as firearms, might not push aggregate values of recovery to limits, but could exceed limits for items in that category. Make sure all items of value are properly covered. Maintaining receipts, photographs, written descriptions, appraisals, and other documents identifying property is a good way to maximize possibility of identifying, recovering, and receiving insurance payments for property taken in a burglary. Burglary-rated safes can defeat most casual burglars. While safes can be cracked by professionals, the storage of items such as firearms, jewelry, precious metals, and documents in burglary-rated safes can lessen the chance of loss to criminals If you have been involved in a burglary, whether victim or accused, learn your rights. Contact or call the Nahajski Firm at 206-621-0500 for a free and confidential initial consultation.