Home invasion is on the increase and for many people there are few things more terrifying than the thought of someone forcing their way into your home, especially when it occurs at night when your family are tucked up in bed. Few people have any idea of how they would react if they woke to the unmistakable sound of someone entering your home uninvited. This type of situation is becoming all too common and it can happen to anyone and in any neighborhood. According to the FBI statistics on burglary (not all states count home invasion as a separate crime) there is an American household burgled every 12 seconds.
Planning And Preparation
No-one wants to believe that they are at risk from a home invasion, but the truth is that it could happen to you and your family at any time, so how do you deal with it? The key thing to remember is that home invasion often occurs when you least expect it. The majority of reported cases occur when the household is sleeping.
In a situation like a home invasion you will all be likely to panic and that makes it more difficult to make smart decisions. The best option is to be prepared ahead of time, so sit the family down and discuss the possibility of a home invasion. Talk through escape routes, hiding places and reactions. The key is not to scare the kids into thinking that a home invasion will happen, but to prepare them if it ever does. It is far better to have a plan and never need it than to find yourself facing this situation without any idea of what to do.
Keep Your Alarm System Armed
There are a few practical tips that you can keep in mind which can also help you to survive a home invasion. The first is to have a monitored alarm system fitted in your home and to keep it armed at all times. There is a common misconception that alarms should only be set when you leave the property, but this is not true. At the very least you need to arm the alarm system before going to bed at night, but the best option is to have it armed at all times. Your monitoring company can be made aware of when you are likely to be at home so that they have a better idea of when there will be people coming and going in your property.
The Importance Of A Phone
In the event of a home invasion, one of the best pieces of security equipment you can have on hand is a phone. The best thing you can do is keep a fully charged cell phone within your reach at all times, especially when you go to bed. This could prove to be a life saver if you cannot reach your land line in the event of a home invasion.
The moment you hear someone entering your home unexpectedly you need to dial 911 – do not wait to see if it is someone that has a right to be there. If for example, your partner arrives home in the middle of the night from a business trip earlier than expected, it is easy enough to cancel the police once you know you are safe, but if you wait to identify the intruder you could be leaving it too late and putting yourself at unnecessary risk.
If You Can’t Escape – Hide!
Although you may have a planned escape route, on some occasions you will find that getting out is not possible for whatever reason. In this case it is important to have a hiding place. Few people have a panic room in their own home, but it is a good idea to have identified a room which has a very sturdy door and make sure it can be locked from inside. If you cannot get out of the house then the next best option is to barricade yourself in the room until help arrives.
When a criminal attacks you in your own home they are expecting you to be defenseless, so the biggest strength you have is to be prepared. If you know what to do in this situation you have a greater chance of surviving and of making sure the criminal is brought to justice. The main thing to keep in mind regarding home invasion is to be prepared. Having a good home security system, an escape plan and a hiding place if escape is not possible will allow you to survive any home invasion.
Jim Dalton is a security and safety expert. He has published articles on various blogs and online publications covering a number of security related topics, although he specializes in home alarm systems.