Your home should be the space where you feel most secure and that is why a home invasion is one of the most terrifying crimes to be a victim of. Aside from the immediate dangers associated with violent criminals in your home, you also need to deal with the psychological consequences of having your space invaded, which can result in real, long-term trauma. This article takes a deeper look into some measures you can take to preemptively deter home invaders and how to survive a home invasion if you are the target.
Let’s begin by defining the concept. While the terms burglary and home invasions are often used interchangeably, they have distinct legal definitions. A home invasion is a subset of burglaries where the perpetrator enters the home while armed and while it is legally occupied.
According to the US Department of Justice there are 2.5 million burglaries committed per year and a staggering 66% of these are further classified as home invasions. Furthermore, 38% of all assaults & 60% of rapes occur during home invasions. When one considers the frequency and violence of this type of crime it becomes clear why it is so important to be prepared.
5 tips for preventing a home invasion
The best time to stop a home invader is before they even enter your property. Below we explore five practical tips to help you deter home invaders and put a stop to this type of crime before it occurs.
Prevent easy access
This is probably the most important piece of advice we can give you. Most burglars and home invaders aren’t master criminals, instead they are opportunists looking for an easy score. By making access as difficult as possible you will deter all but the most prepared intruders. In many cases a locked door or window is enough to send them looking for another victim.
Add additional locks to all doors and windows
Of course it isn’t always possible to keep doors and windows locked. You may want to keep them open for ventilation and this is where lockable latches such as LockLatch or MiniLatch provide a great deal of utility. These ingenious C304 stainless steel devices are designed with an adjustable arm that locks your windows and doors in an open position meaning air can get in, but thieves can’t. LockLatch and MiniLatch can be installed in minutes with basic DIY knowledge and the patented design means they fit almost every type of door or window.
Keep valuables away from windows
As opportunists, home invaders want guaranteed results. They are far less likely to target a home if they are unsure of the value of the items inside. Generally, thieves are looking for lightweight and high value loot. Electronics, cash and jewelry fit the bill, and these should be kept out of plain sight to avoid attention.
Make the home appear busy
Busy homes are less likely to be targeted by thieves, because the chance of something going wrong is so much greater. Even if your home isn’t a hive of activity there are some measures you can take to create this illusion, such as leaving electronics and lights on; changing your daily routine; making sure the home and garden are well-maintained; and making sure your mail and packages are collected.
Never underestimate the power of a dog
Dogs provide still more complications for burglars. They may be aggressive or may make a noise, and they add unpredictability into the mix. Many home invaders will rather find a home where they can maintain the element of surprise and thus avoid homes with dogs.
5 tips for surviving a home invasion
If the worst happens and your home is invaded, there are still things you can do to improve your safety. This is particularly relevant to women as the chance of sexual assault or rape is much more prevalent. This section looks at five ways you can diffuse tension and avoid violence during a home invasion.
A calm head means a clear mind and allows you to make the best decisions in difficult situations. Always speak calmly, move slowly and keep your hands visible. A calm demeanor also means less chance of aggravating the intruders.
Give them what they want
No object is as important as you and your family’s safety. If a home invader is threatening you or demanding valuables, you should rather give them what they want, than risk a struggle and physical harm.
Don’t be a hero
Only fight with the intruders when you have to. Don’t do anything to put yourself at risk. Also don’t attempt to prevent the intruders from leaving, or otherwise slow them down. Your priority should be getting the criminals out of your house as quickly as possible.
Take note of the characters
While you shouldn’t stare or make your invaders feel uncomfortable, observing them can help lead to their capture by law enforcement. Take note of their clothes, their voices, hair styles and any other distinguishing features that may help police officers identify and apprehend them.
Answer when spoken to
When it comes to interacting with the home invaders, the key is to keep it simple. Speak when you are spoken to; keep your answers short and clear; don’t ask too many questions; and don’t argue with the intruders.
Be prepared for home invasions with these handy tips
As with any type of security you can never be too prepared. This section looks at some important security measures to put in place in case you are ever the victim of a home invasion.
Have an emergency plan ready
You must know what to do in this situation before it happens. Make sure your whole family knows what to do, where panic buttons are and what safe place they should go to in your home. Teach your family the plan and practice it, frequently enough to remember it in a time of panic.
Have emergency numbers in a prominent place
Make sure all emergency numbers are written down and easily accessible to your family. While calling 911 is more than often the best move, it is also good to have your neighbors’ numbers at hand as well as the numbers of security companies in your area. Here is a great resource of emergency numbers that you can print out and keep on your refrigerator.
Have the emergency numbers on speed dial
Even better than having emergency numbers on the fridge, is having them saved on your phone or speed dial. In the case of a home invasion you may not have the luxury of looking up a number at all.
Have a safe room that is easily accessible
Safe rooms aren’t just for eccentric millionaires, every home should have a room where you and your family can lock themselves away from danger. This can be a bathroom or any small room in the house. You can leave an old cellphone and water in the room in case of an emergency. The most important thing is that the room should be out of the way and not contain valuables, as criminals will attempt to gain access.
Take up a training course
When dealing with any kind of traumatic or dangerous situation it helps to know what to do, and how to act, to maximise your chances of getting out unscathed. While there are a number of specific home invasion survival training courses in many states and online, more general courses such as self defence, first aid and firearm courses provide valuable skills that can be relevant in an extreme situation.
LockLatch serves many purposes. It can help keep women safe, help increase your property value, and improve security at your vacation home. The truth is that you can never be too secure and each layer of security you add to your home, could mean the difference between a peaceful life and becoming one of the statistics in this article. LockLatch provides an affordable, effective and easy to install means of improving security. So, why not start making your home safer today with LockLatch.