The Basics of Home Invasion Prevention
It’s a terrifying prospect. The sound of breaking glass in the middle of the night, jolting you out of your sleep and into action. Or it’s a violent blow that shatters the back door of your home, and your world just got turned upside-down. We can (and should) have a plan to deal with a home invasion. However, we should also have a plan in-place to stop an assault on our homes before it happens. We need to create a home invasion prevention plan.
Home invasion prevention obviously begins outside of your home. If you’re having to deal with a problem inside of your home, you need a home invasion plan, which we’ve already discussed. Simply put, home invasion prevention is all the steps you do in order to avoid putting your home invasion plan into action.
Home Invasion Prevention: Your Home Has Layers
One of the things I learned during my recent class on how to move through a structure while armed was that a building, any building, has layers of defense. This is true of your home as well, and the layers begin outside the home. These layers are:
- Detection Layer: Spotting trouble and dealing with it before it affects your home
- Deterrence Layer: Preventing trouble from entering your home
- Response Layer: Dealing with trouble now that you’re aware of it
Another way of looking at layers is understanding the difference between surveillance, barriers and action. Surveillance is letting you know what’s going on around your home. This isn’t just security cameras, there’s a human element to it as well. Who are your neighbors? Do you have people around you who might help you in case of an emergency? Don’t overlook this resource when thinking about home invasion prevention. Being able to call on a neighbor for help can move the odds in your favor if the worst should happen.
Who Are The People in Your Neighborhood?
Detecting trouble before it happens means understanding what’s going on in your neighborhood. There are a wide variety of local crime maps available on the internet. These maps can help you spot any trends, such as a rash of break-ins. Join the local group for your neighborhood on social media. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. If the other homes around you are starting to sprout security gates and similar measures, maybe it’s time for you to do something as well.
Security cameras, burglar alarms, motion sensitive flood lights and other means are also part of the first layer of defense around your home. Prices on these items have plummeted in recent years. High-quality alarms, sensors and cameras that connect to your home network are available from many different manufacturers. These systems are easy to connect and use. Because they’re connected to the internet, they can give you a real-time view of what’s going on outside your home, even when you’re thousands of miles away.
Barriers To Entry
The second layer of home invasion prevention is hardening your home against an intruder. This is where locks, deadbolts and other physical deterrents come into play. A lock only works if it’s used, though. You may think you don’t need to lock your doors because you “live in a good neighborhood.” However, your neighborhood is connected to other nearby neighborhoods by roads, and those other neighborhoods can be not so good. I live in a good neighborhood (a great neighborhood, actually). I lock my doors not because of the people in my neighborhood, but because of the people who aren’t in my neighborhood.
Look around the outside of your home. Does every window have a lock on it? Are there some windows that are not visible to the street because of overgrown shrubbery? Do your front and rear doors have deadbolt locks on them? Is there a peephole in your door? Is the street lighting around your home darker than other areas on your street? All of these factors can affect how much your home looks like a ripe target for a home invasion.
Our goal is to not only prevent a burglar from entering our home, but to make our home look like less of a target for a burglary. There’s an old joke with a punchline that goes, “I don’t have to run faster than the bear, I just have to run faster than you!” This should be our attitude towards how our home looks to a potential burglar. Little things like exterior yard lights and prickly bushes planted underneath the windows suggest to a burglar that there are easier places to ply his trade.
Don’t Make Yourself A Target
Early on in our marriage, my wife and I lived in a townhome that had a stout security door on the front and rear doors. All the other homes in our part of the complex had those doors as well, except for the townhome at the end of our row. Guess which was broken into and ransacked by a gang of burglars? Yes, you’re right, the one on the end. That home looked more vulnerable to a break in and it was more vulnerable to a break in. So, it was the one that got hit.
What we say and how we act can also affect how much our homes look like a target. I’m proud to be a gun owner, but I also realize that acquiring guns is a big motivation for the criminal element. Be aware that by broadcasting to the world that you own a lot of guns, you are also broadcasting to the world that you own a lot of things that criminals really want to acquire.
You may also think that having a “I Don’t Dial 911” sign in your front yard is a good way to show off your commitment to the Second Amendment and also scare off burglars. What that sign really does, though, is tell the bad guys that your home contains something that’s very valuable to them. All they need to do to get it is wait until you leave your home. Your guns are your guns. Let’s keep them that way.
The Final Step In Home Invasion Prevention: Taking Action
While taking action is listed as the final step in their process, the fact is, it can happen either when you spot a potential problem before it happens, or if someone is trying to break through the barriers you’ve set up around your home. What that action is will vary. A suspicious looking person hanging around outside your neighbor’s home requires a different response than a person trying to kick in your door. Have a home invasion plan in place, and be prepared to put it into action should the need arise.
The Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu once said, “Know your enemy, know yourself, and you will be invincible.” This time-honored saying applies to home invasion prevention just as much as it does to planning a battle between two armies. If you know what is going on outside your home and know how to prepare your home against an intruder, that intruder will have a very difficult time entering your home, and he may regret his actions if he succeeds. Safety doesn’t happen by accident, so take the first steps today to make sure that your home is truly your castle.