According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, more than 2,100,000 burglaries were committed in the U. S. in 2010 and 73.9 % of those burglaries involved residential properties. At those rates, at some point, some burglar just might target your residence.
What, then, should you do about home invasions? No measure is 100% guaranteed to stop home invasions, of course, but certain steps can be made to make burglary far less likely and to protect you if a home invasion does occur.
Before a home invasion can occur:
- First, the installation of a security system is one smart move;
- Secondly, you and your family should agree on the specifics, such as when and how it will be set/unset, and who will check/lock the doors and windows at night;
- Third, you need to plan for a home invasion, so you and your family should think through as many scenarios as possible and agree on:
• how everyone should react during a home invasion;
• who will need special help and who will provide it;
• where the family will meet inside/outside of the house (preferably down the street and otherwise far from your burglar);
• any other specific measures needed for your family;
- Fourth, consider installing locks on every bedroom door, so the occupants can quietly lock themselves in during a home invasion;
- Fifth, keep your charged cellphone and your car keys near you when you go to bed.
During a home invasion:
- First, keep quiet and do not confront the burglar. Chances are that he/she just wants property but you cannot know that ahead of time, so creating noise and/or confronting the burglar will let him/her know exactly where you are and might lead to violence;
- Secondly, do not use a weapon unless you are trained to do so. If you are not trained to use a gun, for example, you will not be Clint Eastwood; you will be Elmer Fudd;
- Third, escape your home, if possible, and go to your family’s prearranged meeting place;
- Fourth, if you cannot escape, gather your family together (if possible), lock or barricade yourself into a room and quietly listen.
• Is there more than one intruder?
• What room(s) is/are the burglars in?
• Does it sound like he/she/they have one or more weapons?
• Gather as much information as you can by listening and thinking;
- Fifth, once you and your family are in a safe place, press the alarm button on your car keys. Your car’s alarm may make the burglar run for fear that neighbors will hear and react;
- Sixth, call 911. The operator will want to know your name, address and situation. Tell the operator all that and whatever else you have learned about the burglar. If you’re still in the home, tell the operator where the burglar is and where you are. Also tell the operator how many “good guys” are in the house and where they are located;
- Seventh, stay connected to the 911 operator, stay in your safe place and wait until the police tell you it’s safe to go back to your home.
You have probably already thought of other specific ways to safeguard yourself and your family in case of a home invasion. That’s good! Keep thinking and refining until your plan covers all the bases of home invasion.
DO’S AND DON’TS
DO install a security system, if possible.
DO plan with your family and agree on the specifics of who will check/lock doors and windows at night and set/unset the security system.
DO plan for the home invasion, agreeing with your family on your specific actions under as many scenarios as possible.
DO consider installing locks on every bedroom door.
DO keep your charged cellphone and your car keys near you when you go to bed.
DON’T confront a burglar.
DON’T use a weapon unless you are trained for it.
- Trained = Clint Eastwood
- Untrained = Elmer Fudd
DO escape your home, if possible, and go to your family’s prearranged meeting place.
DO gather your family together (if possible), lock or barricade yourself into a room and quietly listen.
DO press the alarm button on your car keys.
DO call 911.
DO stay connected to the 911 operator, stay in your safe place and wait until the police tell you it’s safe to go back to your home.
By Kathy Catanzarite
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.
CRIMINAL LAW DOS AND DON'TS