What you should do in case your house is burgled

Prompt action is the key to recovery of stolen items, in case of a burglary. Here are the steps to follow after a house break-in theft

On an average in a year, around 2000 house break-ins and thefts (HBT) take place in Mumbai. A high concentration of these crimes occur in North Central Mumbai, according to a report on the state of law and order in Mumbai in 2020 by the Praja Foundation. Detection for these is below 50%. Cases have seen a 30% decrease since 2015, but reporting of these cases has also seen a drop.

Here are the steps you can take to report a home burglary:

Immediate Steps

On discovering a burglary, the first step is to inform the police. This can be done by visiting the nearest police station or dialing 100. It is good practice not to disturb the condition of the house in the meantime. Photographs can be taken for evidence later.

A police team will arrive at the house and begin a preliminary inspection. The victim will be questioned about the incident and the items suspected stolen. They will be asked to note the items down and their estimated value.

This will then be formalised in a First Information Report (FIR). It will contain information such as: the address, date of theft, when the theft was identified, suspected stolen items, their monetary value, and the victim’s signature. Proof of the items suspected to be stolen, such as bills and gold certificates, can be given, but is not necessary.


Read More: Explainer: How to file an FIR in Mumbai?


Insurance

If the house is insured, details of the burglary should also be reported to the insurance company. A claim form, a copy of the FIR and other documentation/evidence will need to be submitted, without much delay (14 days is typically the timeline). A survey of the house might be conducted.

Based on the particulars and extent of the policy, it might cover the damage inflicted on the property and the value of the objects lost.

Investigation

The police will then begin an inquiry into the burglary. The case will be active for 90 days, following which a decision will be taken to either continue the investigation or shelve it. A future lead could result in its re-opening.

If a suspect is caught and found guilty, they will be charged under Section 380 and others as applicable of the IPC:

section 380 of the IPC
Section 380 of the IPC. Photo: IPC

This explainer is part of a series on ‘Explainers and Information Resources for Mumbaikars’ supported by a grant from the A.T.E. Chandra Foundation.

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