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The holidays are here and that means quite a few things. Cold weather, gifts, lots of food and time with loved ones. Unfortunately it also means a huge spike in home invasions.
Thieves know that you will have all kinds of goodies stashed under your tree and they are itching to get their hands on them. Most thieves have at least some shred of decency in that they will not directly invade a home that is occupied.
The sad truth is, some of them just don’t care and will come into the house while you are soundly asleep in your bed, only to wake up the crash of a lamp or the smashing of the window. So what do you do when there is a burglar in your home?
The way you react to a home invasion depends directly on your personality and as such there are an infinite amount of possible reactions. Sometimes fighting and screaming works, especially if there are neighbors who will intervene or call the police.
Know your own limitations; it makes no sense to risk fighting if you are physically incapable of doing so effectively. Total compliance sometimes works. The invaders might leave you unharmed and just leave. However, compliance may increase the duration of the invasion and therefore increase the potential for them to do something much worse than theft. You need to thoughtfully consider how you or your family members might act under the circumstances and plan accordingly.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Harden your home or apartment with strong doors and locks. Chain latches are ineffective as a barrier, so use your peephole to look outside before ever opening the door. Be suspicious of someone claiming to be making a delivery that you did not order. Do not fall for any tricks to make you open your door. rear doors, sliding glass doors, and garage doors are typically much less fortified than your entry door, you need to make sure that you pay particular attention to the fortifications you make on these as they make prime targets for entry..
Home Alarm System
Audible alarm sirens can prevent home invasion…as long as you make sure that they are fully functional and set. Many Alarm systems have an armed: stay function. This is set up so that your door sensors and window break sensors remain active while the motion detectors are left off.
This function allows you to effectively arm your home from a burglar and to alert you should a break in be attempted while you remain comfortable and unimpeded inside your home. Be prepared to give a prearranged duress password to the alarm company if they call.
Also be sure to remember your correct password as most companies will immediately dispatch a police unit if the incorrect password is given. Having a sticker or a small yard stake with your alarm logo on it can be enough to deter most thieves. Having dogs is another major deterrent. I have some friends who actually have a motion detector set up that activates a recording of dogs barking when someone steps onto their patio.
Have An Escape Plan
If someone in the household can escape and call for help, the home invaders will have lost the advantage of having privacy and time. To those that have children, running away will not be an option and the mere thought of it is distasteful, but desperate times may call for desperate measures. Make sure that everyone in your family has the knowledge and ability to escape if the situation calls for it.
Sometimes a radical escape may be your only option; like diving through a glass window or jumping from a balcony. Although you might sustain injuries you will need to weigh the chance of serious injury against your chance of survival with the assailants.
If children are present in the home and invader will likely threaten to harm them in order to get the adults to comply with their demands. These same children are so often overlooked as potential rescuers and sometimes are typically not seen as a threat and as such are not heavily guarded.
If the child has been trained to do they may be able to dial 911, activate the panic button if the opportunity presents itself, activate the panic button on your alarm, or escape to a neighbor’s house to summon the police.
Never underestimate the ability of a child with training.
Keep Your Mind Active But Calm
So many people make themselves worse off in this situation by freezing up or just losing their wits. Keeping a cool head is important, especially in dire circumstances.
If your thoughts are collected you have a better chance of making the right decision and not acting out of impulse. The situation will constantly change and evolve. While at first there may be no chance for escape, an opening may present itself later.
The intruder will be on full alert when the altercation occurs and fighting may not be smart in the beginning; however the attackers may let their guard down once you appear to comply. If you decide to strike out at them do it fast.
Don’t hesitate and make a quick and forceful strike to the nose, eyes, or throat without concern for the damage you might inflict on them. While the assailant is momentarily stunned, make your escape. It may take hours, but an opportunity may come about for you to alarm panic button without being seen. Always be look for that chance.
What Doesn’t Always Work
Screaming and shouting is the easiest and most natural thing to do when startled or angry. If you live in a cookie cutter type community, screaming may alert your neighbors and hopefully make them call the police or the noise alone may be enough to scare off the burglar. However, a determined and experienced home invader will know this and be prepared to make you stop screaming, by force, if necessary.
Handguns and pepper spray can provide a means of self-defense in a life-threatening situation. Homeowners have successfully defended their families in the past from home invaders using such weapons.
Unfortunately you may be caught unaware and be unable to get to your weapons. If that’s the case make sure that you are following the above tip about always thinking. Almost any ordinary household product can work in self-defense. Fire extinguishers, fireplace tools, or anything that is heavy or sharp can make a fairly decent weapon in a pinch.
As a warning, more often than not, most victims are pre-selected for an apparent weakness or lack of fighting capability. With that being said, fighting with an intruder does work sometimes, especially if you have some training and are physically fit but should generally not be your first action to diffuse the situation. Whatever you choose to do comes down to your personal judgment call on your part.
In a life-threatening situation there are no rules when it comes to self-defense. The idea is not to stand toe-to-toe and duke it out with the attacker but rather to finish it as quickly as possible. There is no referee and no boxing ring. If you fear for your life and are prepared to fight, you do whatever it takes to incapacitate them.
All you need is one solid blow to the nose, eyes, or throat to allow time to get out of there and call for help. Take a self-defense class together with your family so all can learn the proper techniques and can practice the procedures. A practiced technique has a better chance of being used effectively in a crisis.
What Not to Do
Never pull a weapon on an armed assailant who already has a gun trained on you, unless you feel it’s your last chance. Never agree to be transported somewhere else like to an ATM machine. If they are willing to risk transporting you, the odds that the incident will end violently are extremely high
If you are able to fend an intruder off and get them to leave your home, never under any circumstances follow an intruder once they leave your home. Doing so could land you in hot water with the police or worse, the attacker could turn on you again and seriously injure or kill you. Your property can be replaced, your life cannot.
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