We’ve seen the scenario play out a million times on TV: A family is sound asleep in the middle of the night and CRASH! — a window or glass door shatters. Enter the masked burglar.
While many home invasion scenarios play out in a much less stereotypical fashion — usually with the perpetrator gaining entry by posing as a salesman or other non-threatening character — home invasions are still a very real threat. On average, an estimated 3.7 million household burglaries occur each year. And in 7% of these cases (266,560), a household member was present and became a victim of violent crime.*
So how can you better protect your family from the unthinkable? We’ve got a few ideas.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” That age-old mantra is especially true when it comes to home security. Every aspect of your family’s safety should be meticulously thought out, especially your strategy for dealing with a home invader. Sit down with everyone in your house and consider:
Just as you should practice your plan of escape in case of fire, you should also practice your home defense plan — regularly. That way, your family is comfortable with it, and reacting in an emergency becomes second nature.
If your ADT-monitored security system is armed during a forced entry scenario, the police will automatically be dispatched to your home. If your system wasn’t armed and someone has forced his or her way into your home, use the panic function — either on a wall keypad or keychain remote — to immediately alert authorities.
The decision to own a gun is a serious one. You should only resort to firearm usage if it is your only option for survival and you are trained to use it. Your weapon should be stored in a gun safe with rubber buttons because biometrics safes can fail if your hands are sweaty. Keep a spare flashlight near your weapon for increased visibility.
In the event that the police arrive and your door is locked, they will need a way to gain entry to your home. If you can’t get to your door, you can always open a window, crack the glowstick and toss your key outside.
For more advice on surviving a home invasion, head over to military.com.
*Between 2003 and 2007 — the last time period studied by the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics for data collection.