In the United States, there is about one home invasion every two minutes. The fact that we have about 320,000,000 people in this country allows us the freedom to entertain the thought that this sort of thing only happens to other people.
But what if it wasn’t happening to another person? What if it is your home that is being targeted? Do you have a plan in place to address such threats? I ask for a simple reason – every person who actually was targeted thought that home invasions only happen to other people.
This post is designed to take you from believing that it could never happen to you, to a point where you are prepared if it ever does happen to you.
Head-in-the-sand denial is not a plan. Neither is protesting or coming up with social media hashtag campaigns or placing the blame for the choices made by the criminal anywhere other than upon the criminal himself.
You are responsible for your own safety. Write that down, it’s important.
I think it would be wise to take a look at the problem, and then take some pretty easy steps toward becoming prepared to face the problem.
This is not to try to engage in fear-mongering, more like trying to help people to see that self-reliance is not as difficult to do as one might believe, and also to see how empowering self-reliance truly is. There is no need to live in fear and paranoia. You are not in as much danger as the evening news would have you believe. Many of the people you see on the news committing acts of violent protest are being paid to act in such ignorant ways.
Having said that, it is also important to note that you can take certain steps that will cause any rational criminal (if such creatures exist) look right past your home in search of a better target.
Next, you will need a plan. You and your family need to be able to act as one in the event of a home invasion. There will not be time to give complex directions. I will outline important things to consider when putting your plan together. As each home has a different layout, your plan will be unique to your specific needs, but you will be able to put a plan of action together to protect your home and family.
Unless you are Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris, planning to defend against a home invasion bare-handed is probably a bad idea.
Making your home a hard target
Step one in dealing with the threat of a home invasion is simply making your home look less inviting to criminals. This often overlooked element is a key essential. Just as with personal safety, the outward presentation makes your home less likely to be selected by most criminals.
Here are a few ideas.
We will start with the most basic idea – lighting. You want to make it obvious that a person messing around your home will be seen.
While there is nothing wrong with having some lights that turn on automatically via sound or motion detectors, it isn’t as if criminals do not know about these products. If they are determined, these lights will give them a brief startle and little else. There should be some lights on outside at night, every night.
And this one isn’t rocket surgery. Darkness gives the criminal cover to find the best entry point and gives him the edge. A well-lit entry to your home, lighting at the back entrance, accent lighting near windows – everything should be considered. If your home does not have good exterior lighting, this can be corrected with very little financial gymnastics. A set of solar powered lighting for a walkway can be had for about $10. Or go all out and spend several hundred. The lighting matters, not what you spend. Do what is within your budget. Pay special attention to those areas that remain shadowed even with exterior lights on. If these areas fall within access entry points, find a way to get them out of the shadows.
Security cameras serve as a very strong deterrent because the criminal knows that his actions might be recorded and used to identify him. Security cameras have a wide range of prices as well. Dummy cameras (not really recording anything) are pretty inexpensive, while you can get cameras and services that allow you to record and even remote view what the cameras are seeing from a smartphone or computer.
The obvious recommendation is to get the best system you can afford. If you can afford to equip your home with high tech video surveillance, there is simply no good reason not to do so. The benefits are tremendous. You can see when a package is delivered. If someone steals it, you will have it on video. And you would even have the ability to see who is at your front door without even getting up off of the couch! However, if the top of the line system is beyond your budget, get the best you can. If that means a dummy camera that just looks real but isn’t recording anything, so be it. The presence of the camera, visible and pointed at your door will make a lot of criminals walk past your home in search of a softer target. Work with what you’ve got, but go for the highest quality and most useful that you can afford.
Once again, this is going to go back to what you are able to do. If you can afford a 24-7 security monitoring service, awesome! If not, go with what you have. A sign stating that This property is protected by Hang’em High Security will give criminals pause. They might still pick your home, but they might also leave to find some other, easier target.
Often you will hear that these signs do nothing because criminals know that all they have to do is cut a wire, and they know, you see, they know which wire to cut based on which security company you have. This BS line is based on the strange assumption that the home invasion types are also genius super-criminals that are experts in their trade. Such critters may exist, but you are much more likely to find teen, gang members, or druggies committing these crimes.
Get a service if you can, and just a sign if you cannot get service, but let them know before they pick your home that you have enough sense to secure your home.
Planting thorn bushes under first-floor windows is a simple deterrent toward using those windows to gain access to the house. They are also inexpensive and typically easy to care for.
Some varieties are just thorn bushes, while others may cause a painful rash and even an almost instant burning sensation. Stinging nettles and certain nightshades can cause problems if you touch them. Look into what grows well in your climate and go from there. But, especially if you have small children, you may want to stick with the thorny varietals that only cause mechanical damage.
Dogs have been companions to humans ever since their brave ancestors, the grey wolf, started following humans around, putting up with our stink in exchange for steady food. If you have the ability to properly care for a dog, then having a good guard dog is a wonderful option. But never get a dog unless you are willing to take good care of it. If you intend to chain it to a tree out back, do the dog and yourself a favour and don’t bother. Dogs are living creatures, very loving and loyal, to a fault.
Should you choose to have a guard dog, you need to remember the intent. You might love a Chihuahua, but they are hardly equipped to defend your life and property.
Mechanical Stops for windows and sliding doors
Stop by any home improvement store and pick up some wooden dowel rods. They need to be thick enough to be strong, but should also be able to be somewhat hidden. Cut them to length and place them in position to stop windows and sliding doors from being able to be opened.
This has to be considered carefully. In the event of a fire, especially if you have children, everyone in the home needs to be aware of and trained in how to remove these dowels and open a door or window to escape. This takes practice or you risk falling into tactical fixation in a fire.
The risks must be considered carefully. If you decide to use this as an added measure of security, please take the extra step of training to escape from the inside.
Get a gun
And last, arm yourself. The home invader is very likely to have a firearm. You should be armed as well if local laws allow it. Regardless of your political views, it is absolute ignorance to insist that the criminal be better armed than you. More important than the type of firearm you purchase is the amount of training you undergo as far as gun safety and shooting accuracy. You won’t be saving anyone in your family if you shoot yourself through negligent discharge, or if you empty the gun and hit nothing.
So, those are my tips for securing your home against home invasion attacks. I appreciate feedback, likes and shares, if you are so inclined!