I don’t know if home invasion robberies have become more common or if they’re just getting more press. Irrelevant, IMO, because one thing we know is, they DO happen with some regularity.
I did a Google news search on, “home invasion” and got 93,400 results. That was just news articles. You get a couple million hits if you’re looking at web sites.
A home invasion has got to be one of the most frightening “events” that can happen to a family. Unlike a normal burglary of your home – where the burglar attempts to use stealth during their break-in – the home invasion variety uses the tactic of “shock and awe” to frighten and confuse the victims. Terrorizing them in their own homes.
What can you do to prepare yourself and your household to repel – or at least reduce the likelihood – one of these violent attacks?
From an article in (of all places) Popular Mechanics (“7 Ways To Protect Yourself From A Home Invasion”) –
If you own a gun for self-defense, get training
I’d extend that to, “if you own a gun for ANY reason, get training.” You are much more likely to hurt someone else – such as shooting wildly with rounds going through walls and hitting innocent people – if you don’t know what you’re doing. I stress in my FIRST Steps pistol class that firearms proficiency is a perishable skill. Use it or lose it. If you own a gun, you need to practice with it AT LEAST once a month.
Plant thorny bushes near windows
This is a great recommendation to help repel any kind of invasion of your home – violent or not. Remember: criminals look for the, “low hanging fruit” – the home they can invade that appears to give them the easiest access and lowest probability of resistance. Let that be your neighbor’s home (you know, the neighbor whose car is covered with Gun Control bumper stickers).
Hang a bell on the door
A great low-tech alternative. The idea behind this and any other type of alarm is to give you time. Time to grab a defensive weapon, and then (depending upon your local laws) to evacuate or Stand Your Ground.
Designate a safe room
Eh, I disagree. A safe room implies that no one can get in. It also means you can’t get out any way other than the one door. I don’t like planning to take away my options. Unless you’re bloody rich and can afford a bomb-, fire-, bullet- and battering ram-proof room, don’t lock yourself into a “kill box”.
Store your gun somewhere accessible
Amen, brother. In my gun classes, I HIGHLY recommend small gun safes to provide access to your guns throughout your home. I just as highly recommend that they NOT be battery operated – especially those that are the cool, “biometric” models. As the article notes, you may be bloodied or sweating profusely, and the biometric device may not recognize you. My biggest problem with these is that they are battery operated. Batteries go dead. Electronics fail. Mechanical, push-button mini-safes are your best bet.
Know your local laws
Sadly, too many local and state jurisdictions make it illegal to have the means to defend yourself – even in your own home. Quote of the day: “Every bullet you fire comes with a lawyer attached,”. If you have a gun, look into Second Call Defense as a way of getting legal and financial protection if you’re forced to use a gun for self-defense.
Keep a Spare Front-Door Key on a Chain with a Glowstick
Great idea I’d never considered. If you’re upstairs and have called the police, you crack the glowstick and toss it with the key attached so the police can get into your home.
I’ve got 5 others to add to their list –
Don’t display wealth
If you’ve got a juicy steak hanging around your neck, and your neighbor has a tofu burger, which one of you will be attacked by the big hungry dog? If your garage is full of expensive tools and all of your friends know about your Monster Boxes of silver, you’re making your home an, “economically viable target”. Keep your possessions out of conspicuous, public view. And for God’s Sake, keep your pie hole shut! Don’t tell your neighbors, friends or families about how rich you’ve become.
Don’t keep all of your eggs in one basket
If you have a home invasion, chances are the bad guys know you’ve got something of value. If you have portions of your valuables – jewelry, bullion, etc. – in different locations, you can give them, for instance, everything in the small safe you keep in your closet under a pile of clothes (yeah, everyone puts a safe there). You can have everything else in other secure, hidden locations in or outside of your home.
Go to Level Orange when you’ve displayed valuables in public
Let’s say you’ve picked up money at the bank, or stopped by a jewelry store to pick up some valuables. Use a non-typical route home that has long stretches where you can observe cars behind you. If you see the same car after multiple turns, attempt to determine the make, model and color of the car, a description of the occupants, and then drive to your police department.
Get a dog
Burglars of all stripes – home invasion or otherwise – hate dogs. Remember, a burglar wants as little resistance as possible. A dog can be an early warning system, a distraction (occupying the bad guys as they enter, allowing you to arm yourself) and a defensive weapon. The bigger and more well-trained, the better.
Be mentally prepared to defend yourself, up to and including taking another life
The single most important item on this entire list. Your life is more valuable than the scum that has broken into your home. If you feel your life is at risk, take theirs first. I guarantee you the bad guys will take yours if the situation were flipped. Get good with this concept well before you’re put into a position of having to defend yourself with lethal force.
Share your other ideas in the comments section.
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