What To Do When a Burglary Occurs in Your Neighborhood

Every 30 seconds, a burglary occurs in the United States,1 and they're the property crime people worry most about. A burglary is traumatizing for the victims, but it can also be frightening for your entire neighborhood. If a burglary occurs in your neighborhood, here are the first three steps you should take.

Protect your property
Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get the latest deals, home security tips, and in-depth reviews.

By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

1. Lend a hand to your neighbors

In the aftermath of a burglary, your neighbors are likely scared and upset. Their property has possibly been damaged and their sense of security and safety has been violated. You can help your neighbors cope by reminding them they are not alone in the recovery process.

  • Offer to help them clean up and repair any damages.
  • If their property has been severely damaged, you and your other neighbors can consider hosting a neighborhood fundraiser and donating the funds to the family to help pay for home repairs and replacements.
  • You may also consider welcoming them into your home and letting them stay in a spare bedroom until their home is repaired or they feel more at ease.
  • Keep in frequent contact. While it may sound small, sometimes the best thing you can do is simply remind the family you are there for them, whatever their needs.
  • Consider implementing community safety initiatives, such as a neighborhood watch program. By looking out for one another’s homes, keeping your eye out for suspicious activity, and checking in on a neighbor’s home when they are on vacation, you and your neighbors may feel more secure.

2. Talk with your family

If you have children, talk with them about how they are feeling in reaction to the burglary. They may be worried about a burglary happening to their own home, or they may wonder why burglaries happen in the first place. As a family, have an open conversation about the burglary that occurred and let your children share their reactions and any concerns they have.

You can also take this time to remind your children about safety basics, including never opening the door to strangers and using the buddy system. Consider establishing a neighborhood “safe house” where your children can go if they feel unsafe when home alone. Make sure this home is within easy walking distance and that the family is one with which your children are comfortable.

3. Update the security of your home

After a neighborhood burglary, you may not feel as safe in your own home. SafeWise advisory group member Ben Stickle, Ph.D., notes that burglars often return to the area of the first crime.

"Did you know that after a burglary, there is a high likelihood that another will occur in the same neighborhood within a few weeks2 and that you may be a repeat victim?3 That's why any burglaries or burglary attempts must be reported to both police and the community," Stickle says. "In fact, notifying your neighbors may even reduce the likelihood of other burglaries.4"

He recommends taking precautions as soon as you hear about a nearby burglary. Some ways to take action:

  • Leave your TV or radio on when you are away from the house.
  • Turn on lights inside and turn on your porch light more.
  • Plant attractive but thorny bushes near ground-floor windows.
  • Update your door locks to deadbolts with the highest security ratings. If any exterior locks have started to rust or are outdated, update them to stronger and more modern options.
  • Secure your door. Make sure the frames and hinges are strong.
  • Create a practice of locking all your windows. “We easily forget to re-lock the windows after use," Stickle says. "Establishing a routine check, especially before leaving for a few days, helps find unsecured windows."
  • If you don’t already have a home security system in place, start exploring available options within your budget. Whether you want a traditional system, DIY and budget options, or systems with smart home integration, there's something at every price point.

Next steps

While a neighborhood burglary is frightening, don’t let fear consume your community. By supporting your neighbors, ensuring your family knows the basics of safety, and installing home security measures, you can help protect your home.

To get started, take a look at home security systems. If you want to take a DIY approach, we've also got ideas for simple ways to secure your home.

Compare the best home security systems

Best for
Monthly costIcon Tooltip  Dark
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Read review
Best overall$599.00
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Budget pick$245.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
Quality DIY pick$129.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
Most experienced$0.00
Icon No  LightYes
Best customer experienceQuote required
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon, Google

Info current as of 04/23/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Amazon.com list price as of 04/23/2021 at 10:28 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.
*$0 due up-front with consumer financing.
†No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.
‡Landline monitoring only. Some restrictions apply. (Full disclaimer)
**With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See full disclaimer for full offer details, terms, and conditions.


  1. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, “Crime in the United States 2019, Burglary." Accessed September 21, 2022.
  2. Laura Hoppe and Manne Gerell, European Journal of Criminology, "Near-Repeat Burglary Patterns in Malmö: Stability and Change Over Time," January 9, 2018. Accessed September 21, 2022.
  3. Michael Townsley, Ross Homel, and Janet Chaseling, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, "Repeat Burglary Victimisation: Spatial and Temporal Patterns," April 1, 2000. Accessed September 21, 2022.
  4. Elizabeth Groff and Travis Taniguchi, Journal of Experimental Criminology, "Using Citizen Notification to Interrupt Near-Repeat Residential Burglary Patterns," January 26, 2019. Accessed September 21, 2022.
Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.

Recent Articles

senior man walking by the ocean
Best Medical Alert Systems with GPS
Philips Lifeline sports five types of locating technologies in one wearable device. Learn more about...
The Best Home Security Systems in Canada
Find the best home alarm system to protect your house. We looked at price, features,...
Senior woman hugging dog
8 Best Medical Alert Systems of 2022
See which medical alert system is the best to keep you and your loved one...
Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2022
DIY install home security systems are cost-efficient, effective, and easy to install. See which DIY...