What to Do After a Theft
What to Do After a Theft

What to Do After a Theft:

How to Report a Theft in Miami-Dade County.

Burglary incidents have decreased significantly in Miami-Dade County in the past few years, but there are still more than 7,000 reported each year.

A couple years ago, my car window was smashed and my laptop stolen in the middle of a crowded Miami parking lot. Just a few days later, I received a phone call from the Miami-Dade police saying that all of my belongings had been recovered, including my computer. I was extremely lucky, but in those few days, I’d been through a range of emotions, including confusion, panic, and helplessness.

The days following a burglary always come with uncomfortable responsibilities. Here are a few tips for dealing with these steps if you find yourself a victim of burglary in the Miami-Dade area.

1.Contacting the police

  • If the burglary might still be in progress: If there’s any chance the burglar is still at the scene, call 911 to ask that an officer be sent immediately. Don’t go inside.
  • If an external location or vehicle was burgled: If the burglary involved any of the following types of property:
  • Vehicle
  • Shed
  • Unlocked garage
  • Or storage unit

The Miami-Dade Police Department allows you to report the theft online and print out a police report for your insurance company. Usually, an officer will not be sent to your house following one of these online reports.

  • If a retail space, office, or other secure building was burgled: You can report the theft on the MDPD’s non-emergency number at 305-4POLICE, and an officer will be sent to the site to investigate.

Be sure to report the break-in within 24 hours, both for insurance purposes and in case the crime can be linked to a specific perpetrator later (it does happen).

2. Looking for clues

  • If you see the thief, pay attention: Again, you need to stay at a safe distance until an officer arrives if you know or suspect the thief is still present. However, if you do see the thief, try to pay attention to his/her:
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Hair color
  • And any other physical attributes you can see.
  • Don’t touch anything until an officer arrives (if one is being sent).
  • Look for the point of entry to help the officer determine what happened.
  • Figure out what was taken, if anything.
  • Take photos, if possible, to submit as evidence with your police report and insurance claim.

3. Dealing with your insurance company

  • Get a copy of the police report: If you reported the burglary online, you can print off a police report directly from the site. If you’re working with an officer in person, be sure to ask for a copy of your report.
  • Make a list of what was taken: You’ll need to include the approximate value of each item.
  • Gather evidence: If you have the receipts for your higher-dollar items, such as office electronics and more expensive merchandise, collect them.
  • Call your insurance: Depending on what was burglarized, you’ll need to call your homeowner’s, auto, or renter’s insurance company. An adjustor will be assigned to your claim, and you’ll provide that person with the items listed above.

Basic business insurance will usually cover the stolen items, but higher-premium policies can also cover loss of income, liability for any employees or customers injured during the incident, and loss of property due to theft by an employee.

4. Repairing the break-in site

  • Ask your insurance about an emergency repair: If the thief shattered a window, kicked down a door, or broke a lock, your property is now exposed to further break-ins, along with weather-related hazards. Your insurance might pay to fix this.
  • Otherwise, be prepared to pay out of pocket: If your policy doesn’t cover emergency repairs (or you don’t have a policy), you’ll have to arrange the repairs and pay for them yourself.

I wish there were better news here, but the truth is that this can be a hassle and a big expense and is just another good reason to make sure all your property insurances are up to date.

5. Following up on your case

  • Contact the officer in charge: In most cases, the officer who took your report will be the one assigned to investigate the case. You can use the non-emergency number 305-4POLICE to get an update on your case following the incident. Police are unlikely to contact you unless new developments arise.
  • Keep your expectations in check: Most small-time burglaries do not produce enough evidence for officers to “crack the case,” so often, victims rely solely on insurance payouts to replace their belongings.

Sometimes thieves are caught (often during subsequent burglaries), and belongings are recovered, as was the case with my computer. Should that happen for you, you’ll need to notify your insurance company immediately to cancel your claim.

Preventing Burglaries from Happening

If your retail space or office is vulnerable, make sure you take the proper precautions. It’s important to keep insurance as comprehensive and up-to-date as possible. Having a security guard around can help deter break-ins and also make the aftermath easier by helping file reports, following up with the police, and ensuring the area is properly secured against future break-in attempts.

In the end, being the victim of a theft will always be a painful experience, but with the right precautions in place, it doesn’t have to be a devastating one.

  • Ana

    How to report a person that drives a stolen F350 and has fake vin numbers, which don’t match the car chassis? As well as has a fake insurance information because pays someone in an agency that enters information in the system as if there is valid car insurance.?

Leave a Comment