How To Protect Yourself and Family From Home InvasionsLeave a Comment
With upwards of 8,000+ home invasions happening every year in the United States, it is important to know how to protect yourself and your family, and how to secure your home to better resist becoming a victim.
There is a difference between a burglary and a home invasion. A burglary takes place when no one is home, while a home invasion takes place when you are. Most home invasions happen in the early evening hours through early morning on weekdays and weekends.
It is important to understand the criminals of a home invasion and some characteristics of these potentially violent people. They like to target homes where they are less likely to face resistance and they will gain access to important information such as jewelry, cash, pin numbers and safe codes.
Unlike typical home burglars, home invasions require time, forethought and homework. These criminals will typically spend the time to properly target a person or residence. They will pay attention to things such as your routine, when neighbors are usually away, the types of places you shop and what person in typically at home at what time.
These criminals are known to use deception to approach your residence posing as a delivery man or salesman. Always be suspicious of those that you allow into your home. If something doesn’t feel right ask them to leave and request someone else or go with another company, if that doesn’t make them leave, call the police immediately and alert your neighbors of the incident.
Know your neighborhood—if you notice something is out of place or suspicious, report it to the local authorities. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Home invaders typically look for what is referred to as a soft target. Single women, women with children, elderly and the disabled are prime targets. This is because they typically put up less resistance, mostly out of fear or inability.
Method of Operation
The most common point of attack is through the front door or garage. Sometimes the home invader will simply kick open the door and confront everyone inside. More common is when the home invaders knock on the door first or ring the bell. The home invader hopes that the occupant will simply open the door, without question, in response to their knock. Unfortunately, many people do just that.
Home invaders will sometimes use a ruse or impersonation to get you to open the door. They have been known to pretend to be delivering a package, flowers or lie about an accident like hitting your parked car or an animal (do not open the door and offer to call the police for them, if they become persistant, irritated or if you notice they move on to the next residence, call the police immediately.) Once the door is opened for them, the home invaders will use an explosive amount of force and threats to gain control of the home and produce fear in the victims. Once the occupants are under control the robbers will begin to collect your valuables.
Some home robbers have been known to spend hours ransacking a residence while the homeowners are bound nearby watching in terror. Some robbers have been known to eat meals, watch TV, or even take a nap. A major fear is that the robbers might commit more violence like sexual assault or even murder. Some robbers have kidnapped and forced a victim to withdraw cash from their ATM machine or take them to their small business to rob it as well.
So how do you protect yourself from these sort of crimes? The same tactics used to prevent daytime burglaries will go a long way to preventing forced entry home robberies. If you can delay a home invader at the point of entry then you have a chance of deterring them or have time to call the police.
- • Keep your house well lit at night. Motion detecting flood lights on low lit areas of your home are typically a good idea.
- • Have an alarm system and place stickers on all the windows and a sign in the yard to let them know you are protected.
- • Do not leave heavy objects in the backyard that can be used to throw through windows, particularly patio furniture and heavy stones.
- • Invest in security cameras with motion sensors and a solid recording device like a DVR. Internet cameras or a remote controlling system such as Total Connect is a good option if you are away from home but still want to monitor it.
- • Have a zone alarm to alert you when someone is coming to the door or up the driveway.
- • Use highly visible house numbers so police can easily identify your home.
- • Have security gate and fence around your home.
- • Do not enter your home if it looks like it has been broken in to or if something seems out of place. Leave the premises and contact your local authorities immediately.
- • Be aware of the trash that you leave on the curb. Break down boxes from recently purchase big ticket items and conceal them from prying eyes.
- • Always lock windows, even those on the second floor.
- • Use secondary locking devices on windows to prevent them from opening past a certain height.
- • Ensure windows have vibration or glass-break sensors connected to your home alarm system.
- • Consider solar screens on your windows which will not only save you on cooling costs, but allow privacy.
- • Look at anti-break window film as an option.
- • Put a dowel rod in the track of your sliding glass door.
- • Be aware of bushes surrounding exterior windows, you do not want to provide them with a place to hide. If you do want one, consider one with sharp leaves or thorns to discourage these as entry points, but keep them trimmed.
- • Invest in anti-kick door solutions to prevent brute force entry. A door chain isn’t going to help one bit.
- • Upgrade your locks to high security locks.
- • At the very least, install longer screws into your door hinges, preferably 3 inch screws.
- • Do not hide a spare key outside, instead keep one with a trust worthy neighbor.
- • Get a home security system with interior motion detectors and set the alarm when you are at home. Criminals rely on an alarm not being set while someone is home and awake.
- • Ensure your alarm is monitored and has power back up and cellular capabilities incase the power or phone lines are cut.
- • Have a secondary alarm keypad in your master bedroom that can be used to sound a panic alarm or quickly access alarm controls.
- • Keep a spare cell phone stashed in a spot with in the home and make sure all family members know where it is. This can be used to call the police.
- • Get a dog. A barking dog will bring unwanted attention to a potential burglar.
- • Change alarm codes often.
- • Discuss the importance of home security with everyone, it only takes one person to forget to lock a door or window.
- • Bolt down safes and lock up expensive items like bikes and four-wheelers.
Now a few statistics about home invasions and why you should take steps necessary to protect you and your family from them:
- • One in five homes undergoes a home invasion or break-in.
- • There are more than 8,000 home invasions every year in the U.S.
- • 50% of home invasions involve the use of a weapon.
- • In 48% of home invasions, victims sustain physical injuries.
- • Victims age 60 or older make up 17% of home invasion victims.
- • In 68% of home invasions, victims and the accused are strangers, in 11% of these cases, victims and the accused are friends, business associates or family.
- • 38% of physical assaults and 60% of sexual assaults occur during home invasions.
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