Home invasion robberies have increased dramatically in recent years. The trend among commercial businesses has been to protect themselves with better security measures such as alarms and surveillance systems. With the increased security at commercial establishments, many criminals have started to target private residences, which tend to have fewer security measures.preventing against a possible home invasion offers excellent info on this.
Home Invasion Facts
There are many differences between a typical burglar and a home invasion robber. Most burglars fear a confrontation and therefore work while the homeowner is away. A burglar will typically look for an easy entry and an unoccupied house and will mostly work alone. A burglar will often be deterred by alarms, strong locks, sturdy doors and will most likely flee rather than face a confrontation with a homeowner. A burglar basically wants to steal your belongings but doesn’t want an altercation and will go to great lengths to avoid one.
However, a home invader is much more bold and brazen. They will target a home that is occupied, with the intent of taking control of the occupants and the dwelling. Home invaders almost always work in groups and are most likely armed with a firearm. They may choose a target based on the type of vehicle they drive, jewelry, lavish house, or other obvious signs of wealth. A typical home invader will use a ruse to enter the home rather than break in. They will pose as a delivery person, repair person, stranded motorist, salesman, etc.
The most common entry point is the front door. After enticing the homeowner to open the door, accomplices will often emerge from hiding and rush into the residence, subduing and intimidating the occupants. Sometimes they will kick in the door, but more often than not, they will use a ruse to gain entry.
The initial confrontation is usually the most violent of part of the home invasion and is the point at which the occupant’s safety is most at risk. Once the invaders have taken control they will search the home for valuables. Home invasions aren’t carried out for DVD players and big screen TV’s. They are looking for items far more valuable such as jewelry, cash, guns, antiques, or high dollar collectables. Often, they will force the occupants to provide PIN numbers and ATM cards.
The vast majority of home invasions occur when the homeowner answers a knock at the door, therefore being extra cautious about opening the door for strangers will reduce your risk significantly. However, it’s always a good idea to also fortify your entry points to prevent a forced entry invasion. Here are a few tips to help to reduce your risk and keep your home and family safe.
Avoid reckless displays of wealth and be aware of anyone following you home. If you believe someone is following you, don’t drive home; go directly to the police department while calling police on your cell phone.
Secure your home with solid core doors, dead bolts and locking devices on all windows. All door locks should have strong door jamb with a heavy-duty strike plate to prevent forced entry. Three to four inch screws should be used to secure the strike plate.
Keep all doors, windows and the garage door locked, even while you are home. Use the peephole before opening the front door. Don’t rely on a chain-latch lock. They are very weak and can be easily broken. The peephole should have a wide viewing area. Position your porch light so that you can see people clearly through the peephole. The perimeter of your house should have ample lighting, and trees and shrubs trimmed back.
Keep the curtains or blinds closed at night. An open window can provide a wealth of information to a potential home invader; what type of valuables you own, where they are, how many people are home, the layout of your house, etc. If they can’t see into your home to gather information, they may not feel confidant targeting your home and move on.
Don’t make it appear as if you are at home alone. Even if live alone, make it appear as if other people are there by keeping extra lights on in other rooms. A home invader prefers fewer occupants because there are fewer people to subdue. Create the illusion that other people are in the house.
Escape immediately if possible. Don’t try to be a hero and stay behind with the family. If you are in another part of the house and realize what is happening, get out through a window or back door as soon as possible. This decreases the amount of time they have to burglarize the house and enables you to call for police. Staying behind only helps the invaders because now your whole family is in danger and there is no one to call police.
When valet parking, only give the valet your car key, never relinquish your house key. It doesn’t take very long to make a copy of a key, and a quick search of your glove compartment will reveal your home address on your vehicles registration card or insurance.
Have a plan in place to address safety and security issues. Make sure every member of your family knows what to do.
Always ask for ID of any one knocking at your door. Don’t be afraid to call and verify that person’s identity with whatever organization they claim to be with.
During a Home Invasion
If an intruder is able to force his way into your home, here are some tips to help protect yourself and your family. Don’t fight back or argue, cooperate with the invaders, especially if they have a gun. This will keep them calm and reduce the likelihood of a violent outcome. Complying with the intruder will also buy you some time to think and plan a potential escape when they let their guard down.
Pulling a gun on a home invader should be a last resort and only when you feel your life or the lives of your family are in danger. The use of any self defense products like a stun gun, Taser or pepper spray should also only be used as a last resort.
Avoid looking the intruder(s) in the eye. If a criminal feels you can identify him, he may react violently. Establish a code word or phrase with a friend who regularly calls you on the telephone. Should this person call during a home invasion, you could claim that you’re expecting an important phone call and that not answering would arouse suspicion. If the home invader lets you answer, you could use this code word or phrase to alert your friend to call 911.
A home invasion is one of the most dangerous and psychologically damaging crimes for a person to experience. It is often violent and leaves a family feeling helpless and vulnerable. Making sure that all entry points are secure and not opening the door to strangers at night will probably eliminate 90% of home invasions. Being smart and cautious will go a long to reducing your risk of becoming a victim and keeping your home and family safe.