For many people, home invasions only happen to “other” people. They assume they’ll never be victims, so they never plan for such a horror.
But home invasions can happen to anyone. And they’re marked by violent assaults that often lead to rape or murder.
Unlike typical home robbers who are often single perpetrators who strike during the day when the occupants are less likely to be home, home invaders have a much scarier criminal profile.
Home invaders often work in groups and they prefer the cover of darkness. Most significantly, they prefer to strike when their victims are at home. Sometimes, they follow targets home to ensure they will catch them in their residence.
Home invaders use the element of surprise and overwhelming force to storm into your home. They use violence to control the home’s occupants with fear and intimidation.
By definition, a home invasion is when perpetrators forcefully gain entry to your house, condominium, apartment or hotel room for the express purpose of committing robbery with associated violent acts such as assault, rape, torture and murder.
|Home invasions do happen – but you can take steps to protect you and your family.|
It is imperative that you rely upon yourself and/or your family for protection because the police can only respond to crimes they know are happening. Even if they are made aware of a crime in progress, there is still a lag in time before they can arrive on the scene. By that point, a home invasion could turn into a hostage situation, reducing your chances of escape even further.
Let’s begin to prepare now to combat this potential breach upon your safe haven with some critical tips that may help you prevent a home invasion:
NEVER open the door for a simple knock or for anyone selling or asking questions unless you know them. If you open it, you have just allowed the criminals entry to your home and have jeopardized the safety of your entire family.
Develop a crisis or emergency plan with your family. Rehearse it so that everyone is sure of his or her roles. Try to work in as many variables as you can think of and position whatever items are needed to execute the plan throughout your home.
Keep a cellular phone accessible inside your home and close to you at all times. Pre-program 911 into speed-dial. Make sure the phone is always charged and in good working order. Your cell phone is no good if it is off; leave it on through the night.
While at home, keep all the doors locked. Do not leave your garage door open at any time, unless you are doing something directly in front of it. If you are outside mowing the lawn, keep the garage door closed and locked. If you take the bikes out for a quick ride around the block, lock all of your doors and windows.
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Vary your routes as you travel daily to work and/or recreational activities. Criminals monitor potential victims’ habits and watch for patterns they can exploit. This makes you both vulnerable and accessible, which is very dangerous. Don’t be predictable! Vary the routes you take and the times with which you do things in your daily life. Make it difficult for criminals to pinpoint where or when you will be somewhere.
If you believe someone is following you, do not go home. Instead call the police immediately, give them your description and tell them where you are. Or drive to the nearest police station or even fire station. If that’s not possible, drive to the most public place you know, where there are lots of people. In this case, you may want to attract attention to yourself, as a protective measure. So honking the horn is not only acceptable but also advisable.
Whenever you come home, scan the area for anything out of place or unusual before you enter your property, especially before you open any door. If you have a “gut feeling” someone is watching you or waiting in ambush, then get away and call the police. Don’t be afraid of feeling foolish. It’s better than being dead.
Set up key words or phrases with your family members so that you can all communicate covertly if you or your family are in trouble.
For example, you’re out shopping while your 16-year-old daughter is home alone. You call her with your cell phone, and she answers with a flat, “Hello.” So you ask, “Hi, what are you up to?”
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She responds, “I’m feeling kind of ‘blue’ so I’m just taking it easy.” And your blood runs cold. The key word is “blue.” It’s your family’s code word that means: “I’m in immediate danger, call the police!”
Designate someplace in your home as a “safe room.” This room must have a very solid door (fire proof when possible) with fortified hinges and jambs. The walls, floor and ceiling should also be solidly constructed, preferably without windows or skylights. Equip the room with its own cellular phone or other means of communication. Make sure the phone gets good reception and keep it charged. You may also want to stock the room with drinking water, non-perishable food, and weapons. If you can afford it, consider outfitting the room with its own ventilation system and electrical power source.
Consider each room a “defense zone.” That way, if a home invader breaches your outer doors or windows, you can make a stand room-by-room, using the resources that already exist in each zone.
For example, in your kitchen: You can fight back with cooking spray, insect spray, knives, forks, spoons (Yes, I said spoons. With some training, anything can become a weapon,). You can use pots and pans as clubs or as shields.
In the bathroom: You can turn a can of hair spray into a blowtorch by shooting the mist through a cigarette lighter. Combs, brushes, towel rods, and plungers can all become weapons.
Start employing these critical tips today to prevent a home invasion and to give yourself and your family a tactical advantage if you’re attacked. Raise your level of awareness so that you can recognize and avoid this danger before it happens. Do all this and you will greatly improve your chances of thwarting or avoiding home invaders.
Until next time, stay alert, check your six and stay safe!