We all hear frequent reports of home invasions. Some of these incidents result in property crime. Many, however, end with a tragic loss of innocent life.
So what do we mean by a "home invasion?" The general understanding is that a home invasion is the forced entry into an occupied residence for the purpose of committing a criminal act.
In this blog, we'll explore how we can make ourselves, our homes and our families a less likely target. In the event you do become the focal point of this crime, we'll show you how you can mitigate the situation so you go from being a victim to a defender of you and yours.
Like many topics I discuss having to do with crime prevention, home invasions must also be addressed in a proactive way.
First, don't do things that will bring attention to yourself. Most criminals who commit home invasions plan their crime in advance. What are they looking for? Ask yourself -
- Do you post on social media when you're out of town and away from your family?
- Do you make it a habit of leaving your garage door open during hours of darkness?
- Do you have a peep hole in your front door or do you readily open your door to unknown persons who knock?
- Is your door handle and lock located next to decorative glass that can be broken for easy access?
Some things that are very discouraging to criminals who are potentially targeting your home are alarm systems, dogs and outdoor lighting. You don't need to have the most secure home ever made. To deter a criminal, you just need to have a home that is more secure than others in your neighborhood. Why? Because criminals depend on success, and they will invariably take the easiest path to achieve their objective. When their objective is breaking into your house, every counter-measure you can utilize matters.
As technology has increased in the area of alarm systems, the bad guys know that you can monitor your home right from your cell phone. If you do use an alarm system, post a lawn sign outside your home or place an alarm decal on your window. Bad guys notice these things.
Now that you have done those proactive things to protect your home, what happens if home invasion criminals make it to your door? To protect yourself, guns are a personal preference. If you choose to defend yourself with a gun, seek quality firearms training and keep up your skills. Always keep your guns secured from children.
Whether you have a gun for personal protection or not, you still must have a plan of action should a home invasion occur. It doesn't matter if you live by yourself or with your family, have a plan! Have a plan and practice it. If you have small children then turn your emergency procedures into a fun game for them, just teachers do in kindergarten to prepare your children for an active shooter incident.
Once you have a plan, make sure you can perform it effectively. For example, if your plan requires you to run up a flight of stairs, then ensure that you can physically perform that task.
Have the confidence to know that you can dial your phone under stress and call 911. I'm not joking here. Dialing most phones requires the use of what is called fine motor skills to press the little buttons. In a stressful attack situation, fine motor skills diminish extremely rapidly. Options to this, if you have an alarm, is to have a simple panic button installed by your bed as part of your system. Or have a small alarm key fob that you can move around the house with you. These are common features today.
Once an alarm is activated, the alarm company will call 911 for you. Remember though, 911 is a reactive measure to an event that is already underway. Your wait for the police even on a good day is between 3 to 5 minutes. Speaking from experience, this can seem like an eternity when you're defending yourself from potential deadly harm.
As a last resort, prepare to initiate some means of defending yourself. Whatever your plan is for self-defense, make it practical, make it realistic and make it effective.
A home invasion will affect everyone in your home. So your entire family should be involved in prior planning. At the end of the day, you do have the ability to ensure that you don't let the bad guys win!