Home invasion is on the rise.
Violent crime every 35 seconds
Robbery every 60 seconds
Murder every 32 minutes
Burglary every 15 seconds
Robbery every 60 seconds
Theft every 5 seconds
Assault every 35 seconds
For many Americans, home invasions are what happen to “other” people. Most people do not plan for this as they do not believe they will ever be the victim of this type of crime, or any type of crime for that matter. Initially the best defense is awareness. Being alert can save your life and that of your family. As in any emergency situation, Do Not rely on the police or other people to come to your rescue in your time of need.
You will need to rely upon yourself and/ or your family members as law enforcement can only respond to what crimes they are aware of. If by chance they are made aware of a crime in progress, there is still the issue of how much time will pass before they actually arrive on scene. At that point we must also consider this home invasion could turn into a hostage situation. If that happens then your chances of escape as well as your choices shrink considerably.
Right now with an economic recession looming over our heads, there is one certainty and that is crime is on the rise. Because many people have fallen victim to the depressed economic situation, many are in a state of despair thus lessening their normal attentiveness to their surroundings. This is very dangerous as it makes them highly vulnerable to these opportunity seekers that are quite intent on completing their objectives at their victim’s cost.
By the very nature of the crime of home invasion, these criminals are already showing their boldness by striking out at all hours or the day and night. They can be clever in disguising their true objective by simply coming straight to your home and knocking on the door posing as a policeman, utility repair person, meter reader or other common person you would open the door for. Always ask for picture identification before opening that door to anyone. If the individual at the door are the actual people such as a police officer, they would be happy to show you proper ID, ID that can be verified with their employer with a simple phone call from you.
Whenever you are unsure in the slightest sense, call the police, and whatever you do—Do Not open the door! The door provides some element of a barrier and possibly time (depending on the door, locks and door frame construction) to the criminal’s ability to breach the perimeter of your home. Of course there are other ways in if they are so determined, but these criminals usually seek the element of surprise when attempting to gain entrance to a home.
There are usually many ways these criminals can gain entry to your home besides the front door. These may include windows, garage, alternative access doors, basements and attics. A gated community as well as an alarm system can both be deterrents to crime; however they do not in any way negate the possibility of an attack on you and your home.
The following are some tips that may help you secure your home and prevent a potential home invasion:
- Make sure you have solidly constructed doors, and door frames on your home, with extra heavy weight hinges that are deep set with screws or bolts into the frame.
- All doors leading into the home should maintain a minimum of two heavy grade locks, with at least one of them consisting of a dead bolt that is deep set into the frame. It is also recommended your main door have a small “peep hole” so that you can see anyone standing outside. Even better, have this “peep hole” in a nearby wall, not behind the main door. A home invaded will simply spray paint your peephole lens.
- Your window frames should also be of a solid construction material. The windowpanes should be made of safety glass, and each window should possess a good quality locking mechanism. Whenever possible install self locking window screens.
- If possible, install an alarm system in your home. Be sure it is connected to every door and window, and possesses a panic switch, motion detectors, and is loud enough to be heard well outside your home. Make sure the master control panel for the alarm is well hidden and out of plain sight. Have at least two alarm panels, one upon entry of the front door and the other in an easily accessible area of the house.
- If your home has sliding glass doors, make sure you have auxiliary locks in place for them. Be sure they cannot be removed from their tracks from the outside of your home. Safety glass should be the minimum standard in all glass doors. DO NOT have pet access doors. You are only assisting the criminals in making an access / vulnerability point.
- Make sure all door hinges are located on the inside, so that the doors cannot be removed from outside.
- If your home has an attic and/or basement, make sure all entrances and exits from those spaces are well secured and checked regularly.
- Keep a cellular phone accessible inside your home. Make sure it is always charged and in good working order. Your cell phone is not good if it is off; leave it on through the night.
- Develop a crisis/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. When unsure of how to go about developing such a plan, do not hesitate to contact a professional for help.
- NEVER open the door for a simple knock, anyone selling or asking questions unless you know them. If you open it, then next phase would be the door being kicked in your face and they are in.
- While in your 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.
- Your neighborhood at one time or another more in during your residence will be “cased” for a potential easy target. If they see that you have items that they desire to steal from you in your garage, they will be back.
- Do not leave your garage openers inside your vehicle; all it takes is for some duct tape on the glass of your car and smash! They are in your car quietly and now have your garage door opener to gain access into your interior perimeter.
- Install motion sensor lights outside your home in strategic, multiple locations.
- Make sure all bushes and trees are trimmed and cut back away from the house to eliminate potential hiding places for would-be criminals.
- Vary the routes you travel daily to work and/or recreational activities. These criminals can also monitor a traditional or regular pattern of your schedule.
- When approaching your home after being out, scan the area for anything out of place or unusual prior to entering your property.
- Set up key words with your family members so that you can all communicate an emergency covertly, in the event you or a family member is in trouble. An example of this is as follows; you are out shopping, your youngest daughter who is 17 years old is home but an intruder is with her. You call her from your cellular phone on the way back from your work or outing and she answers by hitting the key pad three times then saying to you “I am sorry you must have the wrong number” and presses the key pad as many times as possibly before she hangs up. This is your signal that she is in grave danger and you immediately call the police.
- When possible, designate or construct one room or place in your home to be the “safe room”. This room must maintain a very solid door (fire proof when possible), heavily constructed walls and ceiling. Always keep a form of communication, preferably a cellular phone in that space that is active and fully charged. Just to mention a few other items that are important to maintain inside that room, potable drinking water, non-perishable food items, weapons and a separate electrical supply (when feasible)
- Do not keep large sums of cash or valuables in your home.
- Leave a spare key to your home with other family members. NEVER friends, many times they are who tip off the criminals and abductors. NEVER leave your house keys under a flowerpot or doormat; all criminals are very familiar with this trick.
- Always check all doors and windows to make sure they are locked and secured before going to sleep.
- When feasible, getting the right type of dog makes an excellent alarm system by itself. If you cannot have a dog, buy the “beware of dog sign” or get a machine that makes the sound of a barking dog.
- If you are expecting any repairman at your home, be sure you get the name of the person you are expecting as well as a simple description. There is not problem for asking for his identification, additionally a second form. NEVER have a repairman in your house while you are alone. It is also a good idea to stay on the phone with a relative, friend or whoever just chatting, let them know you called to see how they were doing while the repairman was working on your house. This is also a great deterrent for these criminals. They will be much more hesitant; to attempt anything while someone else is on the phone with you.
In the end it will boil down to your own awareness, training and quick wit which will help you thwart this potentially deadly crime. Only you can help yourself, and you can start now by going to: www.defensecoachu.com to see how our comprehensive training and educational programs can assist you on your journey to surviving crime.