20 years ago, a home invasion wasn’t even on my radar. It just wasn’t something that I worried about. I lived in the country, in a town where everyone knew each other and if anyone broke into your home, you knew who it was.
Unfortunately, that’s just not the case anymore. “We aren’t in the country anymore Becca, and now we live in tourist country, where thousands have flocked to live and play”.
Many of our farmers sold out to the major tourist companies, and with manufacturing jobs on the decline, people jumped into the tourist business. But with it, came a lot of crime that this area had never seen and the need to be concerned about home burglaries and home invasions became the forefront of my focus.
Believe it or not, there are about 3.7 million home burglaries in America every year, about 28% of those someone is home, that’s a little over 1 million home invasions every year. That may not seem like a lot to you, but your family could be one of those 1 million families that are affected by a home invasion. Do you know what to do to protect your home against burglaries and home invasions and would you know what to do if a home invasion should happen to you?
Protecting your home
Don’t flaunt what you got
Home invaders don’t typically target homes that they don’t feel they will benefit from. Keep your garage door closed. Don’t let people see what you have in there. Don’t display everything for people to see. When burglars see that you have nice car, tools, yard equipment, nice or expensive belongings, those things will make you more likely to be a target. I’m not saying throw away all your possessions and dress in rags, but keeping things on the low is a much better option than bragging about your brand new smart tv at work and taking a chance that someone could break into your home to see what else you may have.
Assess your home
Go outside and take a walk around your home. What you are looking for is easy access. Are there windows low to the ground, especially basement windows? Are there doors, that are weak, or have easily broken windows? Does your property have enough lighting? Are there places that an intruder could easily hide in the shadows, or in a dark area? Make a list of these areas and what you can do to protect these areas and make them stronger.
Install dead bolts
These are a little harder to pick and break through than regular door locks. They provide an extra source of protection and can make it more difficult for someone to break through your doors.
Install an alarm system
You need some kind of warning system that someone is trying to enter your home uninvited. By having this warning, you are in a position to better equip yourself to handle the situation. Most alarm systems are also set up to alert law enforcement that a burglary is happening. There are many more options available to us now than there was before. Wireless alarm systems are very popular because many household’s don’t have a landline anymore. With a wireless system you are able to control the use of your alarm with your computer, phone or tablet. One of the first things someone who wants to invade your home will look for is the wires to cut for your electric and your phone line. By going wireless, you don’t have to worry about this. There are drawbacks though, if your wireless connection fails, you may not be warned and the police may not be alerted. This is just one of those things where you are going to have to weigh your options, speak with your alarm system service provider and decide which option would be best for you.
Consider security cameras
Security cameras will give you an extra edge on protecting your family and home. If someone is lurking around or breaks in when you aren’t home, you will be able to catch them and report them to the police. If someone is lurking around outside when you are home, you can prevent them from taking any further action. Cameras truly put you at the advantage here and they don’t have to break the bank. There are many affordable options out there today that weren’t available to us before.
Keep your keys by your bedside
If someone is able to get past your security system you will be able to hit the panic button on your keys. Everyone knows how annoying a car alarm sounds and everyone in your neighborhood will hear it going off. Someone in your neighborhood will come to see why you are not turning off your car alarm at 2am.
Install window locks and window alarms
Make sure your current window locks are not broken. Many times you’ll find that you lock your window, but the window still slides open. If any of your window locks are like this, replace them immediately. There are also extra measure you can take to secure your windows, but be sure that they are compliant with your home insurance company and can be quickly, and easily removed in the case of a fire. If you do decide to install some kind of extra window lock, make sure your children are capable of removing it.
There are also really handy window alarms that attach to your windows. They are super cheap and they really do provide you with an extra warning system. However, be warned that they are not intended to replace your current security system.
Anti-break window film
When I was looking for different ways to protect my home, I was shocked and a little excited when I found out that there are ways to protect my windows without installing bars or putting up some kind of plywood or steel barrier. I also found that this type of plastic keeps the cold and wind out better than if I just installed the regular window plastic that is out there. It’s a multi-purpose item and I’m all about being able to use one thing for different purposes.
Get a dog
Don’t just get a dog, but make him/her part of your family. It won’t matter if you adopt a chihuahua or a pit bull, both will bark loudly if someone breaks in. Sure a bigger dogs have scarier barks, but if a big dog is not for you, than a smaller dog is wonderful too. Dogs have a pack or family member mentality, because of this, they will do their best to protect you if they feel that they are part of your pack. I have owned a few dogs over the years and I’ve never had to take any of them for protection training. Although none of them ever hurt anyone, I am positive that all of them would have done whatever they could have to protect my family and myself. They have all shown that they were very displeased whenever someone entered our home uninvited or they heard a knock on the door or windows. If you make your dog feel loved, cared about and part of your family, they will return that favor.
Plant bushes around your windows
And not just any kind of bush, but thorny bushes like: honey locust, black locust, fire thorn-bush, and cats claw. You can also go another route and plant raspberry or blackberry bushes. These, like rose bushes, have thorns and they are vines, so they grow up your walls, which will further deter any intruder from climbing to get to higher level windows or doors. Plus, you get a yummy food source
Protecting your family
Take a self-defense course
We should all know how to defend ourselves in a hand to hand combat situation. We never know if we are going to come face to face with someone who is truly out to inflict harm on us or our family members. For many reasons, you may find yourself in a situation where you don’t have your firearm with you or you are unable to use your firearm. By learning how to physically defend yourself, you are giving yourself an advantage. If you’d like to read more of what I have to say about this, you can read it here.
Purchase a handgun
Don’t just purchase a handgun, but learn how to use it. Take every safety and training course available to you and then make sure you visit the range regularly to practice what you’ve been taught. If you have never purchased a firearm before, I recently wrote an article for Prepper Broadcasting, you can read my handy guide by clicking here.
Don’t just open your door to anyone
Be aware of who is at your door before you open it. Don’t open the door to anyone you do not know. If there is a maintenance man at your door and you didn’t call for one or aren’t expecting one, don’t open it. Instead, call the police immediately and put yourself in a position to protect yourself and your family.
Be aware that there may be more than one intruder
Intruders who are trying to carry out their home invasion plan, rarely work alone. They almost always have at least one person with them. They are working as a team and will have different scenarios set up in case things go wrong. Make sure you are prepared to defend your home against more than one person.
Hold family drills
Our school district holds what’s called “code red” drills. These drills are to teach the kids what to do if there is a natural disaster such as a tornado or hurricane. These types of drills also teach the kids what to do in case there is ever an active shooter situation. We should also be having family drills at home for the same reasons. If your family not only knows what to do, but has the routine firmly established in their minds, than they will be able to act immediately. This will greatly increase everyone’s chances of being safe. You do not want your 5-year-old running downstairs if they hear glass break or hear you say your family’s code word. You will want them to go to the safe room that your family has designated in the event that something like this should happen.