Does your family know what to do in the event of a home invasion or emergency?
Although crime has gone down dramatically in all categories over the past decade, with the FBI reporting a 9.5% drop in burglaries in 2019 from 2018 and a 48% drop from 2010, the threat of home invasion still exists. That in mind, it is important to have safeguards for home defense put in place if it ever were to happen because the damage can be irreparable.
Most home invasions are performed by thieves who, if they could achieve the invasion successfully, are only interested in stealing possessions and not necessarily motivated to harm you. These invasions can turn ugly if the thief encounters a family member who might stand in the way of a successful heist.
On the rare occasion that a home invasions is driven by a desire to commit an egregious violent crime, the small investment of simple safeguards can be the difference between life and death for you and your family. Some of these home invasions, like the famous 1959 murders of the Herbert Clutter family, chronicled in Truman Capote’s seminal work In Cold Blood, could have been avoided by simply locking the door!
By putting minimal safeguards in place, you can better protect your family and sleep sounder knowing that if a burglar ever dared to come into your home, they wouldn’t get far and the police would be notified immediately. Below are some strategies to use if your home or family are ever at risk.
How to prep your family to avoid a home invasion
Adults know how to properly engage with strangers and any socially adept person can see right through door-to-door scammers or traveling schemers, but children can’t. A child cannot discern any malicious intent in a seemingly genuine stranger coming to your door and asking them for gas money (a common scheme in many neighborhoods.) For this reason, it’s extremely important to focus on your children when prepping your family for home defense because children are the most susceptible to be taken advantage of.
Drill in the idea that talking to strangers is unacceptable in all circumstances, and that they should consult a parent immediately if they see any unfamiliar face on your property or trying to solicit them for something. Some experts advise setting up a mock encounter by having someone who is a friend, but also a stranger to your child, ring your doorbell and see I your child lets them in.
Additionally, provide the adults and young adults in your family with access and knowledge of your security systems so that they know how to properly work those systems and contact the authorities in the event of an emergency. This includes information about mechanism to protect your family against earthquakes, fires and other natural disasters.
What to do if there is an intruder in your home
This is perhaps the biggest fear on every homeowner’s mind. What do you do if you hear a bump in the night and discover an intruder lurking in your home? Safety and home defense experts unanimously recommend that retreating is safer than confrontation. If have access to escape your home, gather your family and climb out a window or exit through a back door.
If you’re on the second floor and can’t exit, experts recommend staying put. Call and text your location to 911. Another option is to set off your car alarm from your room to scare the burglar off. Now’s the time to retrieve a safely stored weapon from an easily accessible place in your room and prepare for an encounter if the burglar enters.
Stay quiet and get the family together in a common location. Barricade your loved ones into your room, and if the burglar tries to enter, announce your presence. Inform them that the door is locked and barricaded, that the cops have been notified and that you are armed. The reason for announcing your presence before a deadly encounter is that the burglar may shoot on sight if he sees you. It’s better to inform him that the police are on the way and that if he tries to enter your room you have a firearm to protect yourself.
Laws regarding home defense vary by state, with some states allowing for deadly force at the mere sight of an intruder in your home and others requiring a threat of severe bodily harm before using deadly force.
Beyond everything else, remember that just because you can kill someone, it should be a last resort. In 90% of situations, your firearm may be 100% the wrong tool for self-defense. We highly suggest investing in some less-lethal options like pepper spray as your tool of choice, moving to a firearm when there is a reasonable belief that your life is in danger.
No matter how much experience you have with a firearm, anything can happen in a fight, and you don’t want to risk losing your life or the life of a family member by initiating a confrontation. The key takeaway is hunker down, and prepare your weapon if you need to use it, invest in sensible security measures, and create a family plan in the event of an emergency.
Unsure what safe to use for your home defense firearm? Check out our top advice here.