Your Business Was Burglarized While You Were On Vacation—Now What?

One of a business owner's worst nightmares is coming home from vacation to find that their business has been broken into and items have been stolen. This is especially hurtful when the items taken have sentimental value, like gifts from your children that were displayed on your desk. If enough expensive items or cash has been stolen, it could be enough to put a company out of business. While you may be in a state of panic when you realize that your business was burglarized, it's important that you regain your composure and stay calm. Then follow these steps:

1. Call 911 or your local police department.

When you return to work after a nice family vacation, as soon as you realize that your business was burglarized you must call 911 to report the situation. If your area isn't supported by 911 emergency services, then call your local police department's emergency telephone number. 

If you haven't yet entered your office, don't go in to make the call. The robbers could still be inside. Instead, stay in your vehicle and call the police using your cell phone. If you have already entered the building, don't touch anything. Go back outside and call 911. If you stay in the building, then you risk the chances of destroying key evidence by touching and moving things, even if you only have good intentions. Once the police have completed their investigation, you may go inside and clean up any mess left by the robbers.

2. Make a list of all stolen goods.

When you call the police, they'll ask you to make a list of everything that has been stolen from your workplace. Give a copy of the list to the police, one to the insurance agency, and keep one for yourself. When listing each stolen item, also provide a detailed description. If an item has a serial number or unique identifying marks, write it down. This will help police return your stolen items in the event the thieves are caught. The list will also help your insurance company when you file a claim for the stolen items.

3. Call your insurance company.

Once the police have finished their investigation and you can enter the premises, ask for the crime reference number. This is the number the police give to your case so they can reference it later in their computer system. Having this number makes it easier for the insurance company to do it's own investigation and verify the stolen items with the police department. Now it's time to report the burglary to your insurance company.

When you contact the insurance company, give them the details surrounding the invasion, the time the police were called, when the police arrived on the scene, and anything else they ask for. If you haven't yet had a chance to compete your list of stolen items, tell the insurance company what you know has been taken, and inform them that you'll provide a final list of all the missing items by the end of the day (or another feasible deadline). If you don't tell the insurance company that there were more items stolen from your business, then they may not let you add them to your claim after your list is complete.

4. Fix broken windows and doors.

As soon as possible, hire a commercial locksmith to repair or replace any damaged door locks. You should also have deadbolt locks installed to reduce the chances of being robbed again in the future. Ask the locksmith for advice or recommendations on other types of security measures.

If a window was broken to gain access to the office, have it fixed as soon as possible. In the meantime, seal the window with plywood or cardboard to keep the elements and little critters out. Install additional window locks, reinforce sliding glass doors with a key lock or a rod that fits into the door channel to prevent it from being opened, and replace any windows located within 42 inches of a door with impact-resistance glass windows to reduce the chances of another break-in.

5. Implement security measures to reduce the chances of another home burglary.

Most commercial burglaries happen on week nights, because the absences of people can be predicted accurately. If you install a security system, you will greatly reduce the chances of another robbery. Also, cut or remove any shrubs near doors and windows because they provide a great hiding place for thieves. Even better, plant bushes with thorns to keep the buglers away.

Install motion-sensitive lights to illuminate the perimeter of your building whenever someone approaches it. It makes robbers wonder if someone is inside and deter them from breaking in. Purchase a fire-proof safe from a place like to store documents, cash, and other important items in at all times. If you're ever burglarized again, the criminals won't be able to steal these items.

While it's impossible to totally prevent a robbery, taking a few precautions and implementing more security measures will greatly reduce your risk of being robbed again. If you have any questions about securing your place of business while you are away, contact your local commercial locksmith. He or she would be happy to help you.