They broke into my car. Now what do I do?

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It’s Monday morning and as you grab your cup of coffee and lock the front door, you turn around and see it. Sometime during the night, your car was broken into.

All at once you are shocked, angry, frustrated, and worried. You’re shocked because things like that don’t happen in your neighborhood. You’re angry because someone did this to you; they violated your property. Your’re frustrated because you needed to be at work for an important meeting and now you have to deal with this. Then you start to worry. Unable to remember what was in the car, you’re worried if the thieves found a house key or a garage door opener and if they will return.

Here’s what you can do

1. Call the police. Depending on where you live, the police may not respond in person but ask you to submit a property crime report online. It’s not that they don’t want to come out, but they simply may not have the resources. Many police departments are facing budget cuts, forcing them to make tough decisions on the use of their officers.

2. Assess the damage. Stop and use your smartphone to take pictures of any damage. If there is broken glass, be careful while trying to note any items that may have been stolen. Were any unique or unusual items stolen? Make sure those are on the list. Also, be sure to check the trunk and look under the hood.

3. Let Crimeseen® help. Getting the word out quickly is important for helping solve any crime and alerts from Crimeseen® can notify neighbors and businesses in your area so they can be on the lookout for ‘persons of interest’ or any of the stolen items. Typically a police report takes 3 to 31 days to be processed. Alerts on Crimeseen® are distributed within moments of being filed.

4. Tips for things to include in a report on Crimeseen®: (Any of these can be added to a report at any time).  Learn how to create a report on Crimeseen.

- Serial Numbers for any items that have them

- Unique or unsual features, like engraving, colors, stickers, personalization, etc.

- Pictures: If you don’t have pictures, for common items, you can download them from the manufacturer or store where those items are normally sold.

- While you can include many pictures, we recommend the first two pictures show the most unique items missing, as these will be more recognizable, especially if seen together.

- Any information about suspicious vehicles or persons seen in the area of the crime.

- Any surveillance video available from your location, a neighbor or business nearby. 

5. Missing purse or wallet? If your stolen purse or wallet had any credit cards, checks, or other identification you will want to contact your bank, credit card companies and you can even contact a credit bureau like Experian to notify them of the stolen items.

6. Print a poster. Once you’ve filed a report on Crimeseen® you can easily print out a poster to share others.

7. Fix what’s broken. If your car was damaged during the break in, you’ll want to get it fixed quickly. You may need to replace a broken windo, lock or repair other damage. If you don’t already know businesses that can help, check to see if local resources are listed for your area on Crimeseen®.com.

8. Contact your insurance agent. Insurance policies differ by person and company; so before you file a claim, call your agent to understand what is covered under your policy and what isn’t. If the value of the items stolen and damage done is less than your deductible, you’ll want to ask your agent if filing a claim could increase your rates or decrease your insurability. Also, if your purse or wallet was stolen, ask your agent if your homeowners’ policy has coverage for identify theft.

9. Talk with your neighbors. Even if no one else in your neighborhood was directly affected, they will likely want to help provide any information they can and also discuss what can be done to prevent property crime in the neighborhood. Encourage all of them to register on Crimeseen®, so they can be alerted to and contribute to reports in your area. If you have a neighborhood association, reach out to the President or one of the board members and let them know what happened. They often speak with other neighborhood associations and may have access to information and resources that can help you.

Evaluate your security.

Many people assume they are safe. That perception can quickly change after a theft or burglary. Alarm companies can help you evaluate the security risks on your property and offer solutions for improvement.

Affordable Video Surveillance

Like other technology, prices for video surveillance equipment have come down while quality has gone up. A high definition wi-fi camera that records continuously day and night can be purchased for as little as $200 and cloud based recording for $99/year. When placed in a street facing position, a single video camera can help protect your property and help neighbors too because the camera will capture any activity in its field of view. To see how one of these cameras helped police arrest a suspect and helped the homeowner recover their stolen items, watch this video.

About Crimeseen®

Crimeseen® is a free online tool dedicated to helping communities, businesses and law enforcement solve property crime at the speed of the Internet. Registered members receive real time alerts letting them know when a report is filed in an area of interest. Members can easily provide information to help property owners recover their property and help police capture the suspects. With Crimeseen® on your side, bad guys got nowhere to hide. Sign up for free today.