No matter where you live, how old you are, or how much wealth you have, there are people out there that want to rip you off. As baby boomers retire at younger ages each year, the chance of being at home when a criminal decides to strike are higher then ever before.
Our last article covered Anti Theft Tips regarding the Cat Burglar. This article will go one step further and cover Home Invasion. Home Invasion is different from Burglary.
The Cat Burglar wants to get into your home, commit a theft, and leave without being detected. In California, a Burglary is the intent to enter a building or locked car to commit a theft or any other felony.
Home Invasion Suspect(s) barge in, and commit a Robbery. They are normally armed and may separate occupants of the home while looking for property to take. In California, a Robbery is the taking of property by force or fear.
It is usually best if armed suspects are in your home to let them take your property. Your life is at stake and property can be replaced.
So what can you do to protect yourself from Home Invasion Robbery? Here are some tips:
Follow tips in our prior article about Cat Burglary Anti Theft Tips.
Don’t brag about property or vacation plans on social networking sites like, FaceBook or Twitter.
Consider purchasing Diversion Safes to protect small valuables.
Have a home alarm with dialer and panic button. Although you probably will not be allowed to call the police directly with these, you can pre program a range of numbers for the alarm to call. The person called can listen in through the hard wired phone line and call police.
Develop a plan and discuss it with Family Members:
Keep your doors Dead Bolt locked at all times. Never blindly open a door when you hear a knock or door bell. Use the peephole or window and remember even a person you know can be an attacker. Criminal street gang memberships are on the rise. I have seen members 12 years old and younger, so be aware of kids you don’t know at your door also. Talk to the person through the door, or install an intercom system. Only open the door if you are sure it is safe.
Don’t open the door for salesmen or people holding a clipboard. This is a common way to gain your trust.
Chain locks will NOT keep an attacker from pushing open the door. Try to have sold entry doors with a dead bolt.
Have a code word, like ESCAPE, and have a pre-planned safe place to go. Have a set up safe room and include a close neighbor in on the plan. Use the neighbors home in case family members can not get to the safe room.
In the case of a pre-planed safe room:
There are professional rooms that can be built or you can set one up on your own.
At least have a sold core or steel door with a dead bolt into a sold door frame. Include a peep hole, or camera that can be viewed from the Safe Room.
Try to choose a room with no windows or hard to get into windows. (Remember barred windows can be hard to get out of in case of fire. If you choose bars, have the type that can be opened from the inside and test them often. Paint and rust can make openable window bars unusable)
Try to have a hard wired phone, cell phone, and a computer with communication abilities in the room. You have to be able to call for help. (If you have an alarm with phone dialer, it will tie up the hard line phone when activated by the panic button.)
Have emergency supplies for water, food, and first aid.
Consider Self Defense:
Have Self Defense weapons locked up and available in the safe room. I prefer non-Lethal types, like Pepper Spray, Stun Gun, or Taser over firearms. (You never really know who is coming down the hallway during the excitement. You don’t want to kill a police officer, rescuer, or even a family member with a stray bullet).
If you need to use the safe room:
Call the police and stay in the room until the police tell you to come out. The dispatcher will ask for as much information as possible to help responding officers. Try to be calm and don’t get discouraged. The police will be on their way while you are on the phone. If possible, many dispatchers will stay on the phone with you until the police arrive. You can confirm police presence through the dispatch center via phone call.
We want you to be safe out there.
Zeb Hammonds spent forty years in Law Enforcement that included Crime Scene Investigation, Photography and Videography. He served 30 years full time as a Patrol Officer, Detective, and Street Sergeant. In the last 6 years of full time service he was also in charge of Technology Development within the Manteca, Police Department in California. Many of his stories are from personal experience. www.ForSecuritySake.com is a way to share these stories and to provide products that can help people be more secure and safer in their daily lives.