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Home invasions and home robberies are taking place more and more in the suburbs. Home invasions can end in beatings, rape, and murder of you and your loved ones — a sad, frightening fact. Do you know what to do in a home invasion situation?
Here are several tips about how to survive a home invasion, and how to prevent home invasions in the first place.
In the event of a societal collapse or large scale disaster, realize this – the desperate are coming. Here’s how to prevent home invasions – and what to do in a home invasion if it happens. Congratulations — you just escaped with your life.
A troubled economy and increasing inequality across the nation is leading to a surge in crime in several U.S. states … a search for “home invasion” on Google news will result in the latest news in home invasions that have occurred.
Home invasions and robberies are taking place more and more in the suburbs and in rural areas. At the current rate, it’s a safe bet that crimes like home invasions are only going to increase – of these crimes, too many will end in violence and even death.
How to Prevent Home Invasions: Prevention is Better than the Cure
Many of us have wondered what we would do in a home invasion. Would we be able to protect our family? Would we react in the right way to lower the possibility of violence?
The truth is, protecting your family starts with deterring criminals in the first place. Prevention is much easier and safer than actually defending yourself and your home during a home invasion. If your plan for a home invasion scenario starts at the point where a criminal breaks into your house, then your home invasion plan sucks. Of course, you should prepare for the worst – but you should also be very aware of how to lower the chances that the worst will ever happen.
Even if you do everything right, a home invasion is a dangerous, chaotic, stressful situation filled with uncertainty. A fully trained navy seal in a home that’s has no prevention measures is less safe than a single woman who has proper prevention measures in place to deter criminals.
Here are a number of very simple things you can do to deter criminals from even attempting a home invasion robbery or burglary in the first place:
1. Install a security system
We understand that this can be expensive, but having some kind of home security system is the #1 way to deter criminals from coming anywhere near your property. Even if you can’t afford one of the more comprehensive options, just a couple of cameras will act as a strong deterrent. Criminals and crooks are looking for easy targets, and they’ll focus their attention on other homes that don’t have any security if they see that you have a security system of any kind.
There are two kinds of security systems – systems that require professional installations (and in some cases monthly subscription fees) and systems that you can DIY.
For DIY systems, we recommend either the Ring Alarm Home Security System. It’s very comprehensive, and while it’s not required, the optional monitoring plan that you can sign up for with the Ring system is much more affordable than its competitors (monitoring is about $10 a month compared to almost $20 a month with it’s closest competitor, SimpliSafe). It comes with outdoor cameras and video doorbell functionality, AND it’s cheaper than the competition. If you want a DIY Home Security System that you can set up yourself and that doesn’t involve any kind of contracts, then we highly recommend the Ring Alarm Home Security System. It offers more features and it’s about 20% cheaper than the next best system.
For professionally installed systems, we have heard good things about ADT Home Security and Frontpoint Security, but both of these come with monthly contracts that can be difficult to get out of. While they definitely offer a higher level of protection, for most people, a DIY home security system like the Ring Alarm System we mentioned above should act as a massive deterrent for any lurking criminals.
3. Reinforced doors and windows
This one is straightforward. If your doors and windows look easy to break into, then they have a higher chance of being broken into. Successful criminals know what they’re doing – they know how to recognize the weaknesses (and strengths) in a house. If you strengthen the potential access points to your house, they’re likely to look elsewhere for a home to target. Here are some ways to reinforce your doors:
Your door’s #1 weakpoint is where the lock goes into the doorjamb (that’s basically the frame of the door). You know those movies where the police kick in a criminal’s door? That’s actually easier to do than you think for most kinds of doors. You should also know that 85% of break ins and home invasions happen through a door. So securing your door should be extremely high priority for you if you want to keep your family safe from criminal intruders.
In terms of reinforcing or fortifying your doors, we highly recommend Armor Concept’s Door Armor system. Armor Concepts is an American-owned company that focuses specifically on door security. As far as we know, there’s no other company out there like them – and their Door Armor is the best door reinforcement solution on the market.
It comes with a $500 lifetime guarantee and is police tested and recommended. Watch the video below to see Door Armor covered on the local news in Michigan (and the police recommendation!) We can’t recommend Armor Concepts enough – it’s affordable and it just really does the job extremely well.
You should also consider a video doorbell. These can be as simple as devices that records what’s outside of your front door, or as complex as a device that sends you an alert when there is a person approaching your door. Some models allow you to speak to the person who’s at the doorbell. The most popular video doorbell is the Ring, which monitors your front door in infrared (so video works at night as well), allows you to check in on the video feed anytime, and sends you alerts when there is motion detected. If you have the DIY Ring Alarm Security System we recommended above, the Ring video doorbell can be integrated into the same system.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, we recommend the Eufy Security Video Doorbell, which is slightly better value for money but offers less overall features.
It’s pointless to reinforce your front door heavily while ignoring all the other doors in the house. If you have a backdoor, install a deadbolt on it so it stays locked. An unlocked back door is a criminal’s wet dream. Install security chains on all your doors and make sure they are all locked each night. Consider the Door Armor for your backdoor as well if you really want to protect yourself from home invasions.
You can reinforce your windows as well. You might consider installing impact resistant glass, so the glass can’t be easily broken, and window locks are always a good idea. Metal grilles are also a possibility on windows, although aesthetically they’re not the most pleasing. We also highly recommend window sensors (especially if you don’t have a home security system like the Ring Alarm) – different models have different features, so you can get something very simple that will emit a loud sound when a window is opened, or you can something sophisticated that you can arm and disarm as you see fit.
3. Keep your home well lit
The truth is that criminals are hoping not to encounter people when they break in. Once people become aware that they’re houses are being broken into, the danger level rises for everybody (the criminal included), and their chances of getting caught skyrocket. Lights can also make it easier to identify criminals after the fact, which is another reason why burglars and home invaders tend to avoid well lit houses. Make sure that when you’re at home, the lights that you have on are clearly visible from outside.
Additionally, consider installing motion activated lights around the access points of your house – front door, driveway, back door, things like that. Even better if these lights are solar powered – that way, they’ll work even in a blackout (blackouts can lead to massive upticks in crimes). This is a very simple, affordable way to deter home invaders.
4. Have a dog
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they’re also great deterrents for criminals and crooks who might be thinking about breaking into your home. Dogs that bark when there are new people are particularly effective, as are dog breeds that are more typically used as ‘guard dogs’ like Dobermans or German Shepherds. However, any breed of dog can be an effective deterrent – just the presence of an additional variable like a dog can act as a warning to criminals. The most important thing is to make it obvious that there’s a dog in the house to anyone who’s snooping around looking for opportunities – perhaps put up a ‘beware of dog’ sign or find some other way to communicate clearly that you own a dog. Remember, an outsider isn’t going to immediately know what breed or how large your dog is, so if they see that there is a dog present, they might opt to avoid your house.
5. Make sure your house looks occupied
The ideal target for a burglar is an empty house where there’s no risk of them running into people. So you want as much as possible to make it look like your house has people in it. You might be thinking that there are always people in the house, given that you live there, but the key thing here is that your house looks occupied. What does that mean? It means making sure you don’t have letters piling up. It means as much as possible, not having packages on your doorstep. It means having reasonably maintained lawns and cars that look like they’re in use. In addition, if you are away from your house for an extended period of time, it means you should have a friend or a neighbor check in on your house regularly to collect mail and packages and so forth.
6. Don’t let strangers into your house
The most successful, dangerous burglars are ones who plan in advance. They will typically try to ‘case’ a house to try and look for vulnerabilities and areas of weakness where they could break in. They’ll also be trying to figure out at what times during the day the house is most likely to be empty. One common trick that burglars use is to pretend to be ‘home security salesmen’ – they tell you they’ll do a quick assessment and let you know of any weak spots. Meanwhile, they are doing the exact opposite – finding the weaknesses for themselves that they can later exploit. It’s a special treat for a criminal if they get to see the inner workings of a house before they plan to rob it – they can check for security features, they can get to know the layout of the house, and figure out where valuables are most likely to be. The point is, don’t let strangers into your house regardless of what reason they give you. If you have to, meet them at the door and speak to them there. If you want to further lower opportunities for a crook to scope out your house, put up a “no solicitation, no trespassing sign”.
7. Never leave a spare key under the mat
This might seem like a convenient thing to do if you forget your key, but think about it this way – a single home invasion could change (or even end) your life and your families lives. Is that worth it for a minor convenience? Never, ever leave a spare key under the may, in the mailbox, under a fake rock, or anywhere else where it’s easily accessible. You can turn your home into a steel vault and it still wouldn’t matter if a criminal can just pick your key up out of it’s hiding place and unlock the door. This is just asking for your house to be broken into. Instead, if you must, leave a spare key with a close friend or a family member and ask them to store it somewhere safe in their homes.
Law enforcement experts frequently state that most burglaries and home invasions are preventable. Don’t wait until you’ve been broken into to react – being ready to defend against a home invasion should be the last step in your home security plan, not the whole plan. By taking the security of your home seriously, you can deter criminals and prevent a home invasion in the first place to keep yourself and your family safe.
Using Decoys To Scare Off Home Invaders
I came across a tip shared by a former CIA guy and featured in a report on Fox News. His suggestion pertained to scaring off burglars, but should work equally well for scaring off other kinds of home invaders. His tip: Put a large dog bowl on your back porch. Would be burglars would likely choose a better house, one that didn’t look like it had a dog on the premises. Make it obvious that you have a dog (even if you don’t!). The idea here is that even if you don’t have a dog, using a decoy can scare off plenty of would-be criminals from attempting to break in. Learn more about the top decoys to scare off crooks and criminals in this article.
This applies to other kinds of decoys as well. Essentially, the idea is to make criminals believe that you have various kinds of defenses and protections that will make their lives harder. Many crooks who show up to case your house will simply look for an easier house elsewhere.
Of course, the best thing of all is to actually have a security or guard dog as we mentioned above, but if you don’t want or can’t have a dog in your home for whatever reason, using a decoy never hurts.
Here Are Several Tips For How to Survive A Home Invasion Robbery
1. Everything starts by making your home look like a hard target. If you haven’t already, read the section above about how to prevent home invasions. A home security system, reinforced doors and windows, multiple lighting sources including motion detectors; having a dog on premises if you are able, etc.
2. To protect your family in a home invasion, establish a “safe room” in your home for your children, where your wife and kids can flee to at the first sign of forced entry. Outfit the door with a dead bolt lock, that can be easily locked as the last person enters. If your home is larger, have a secondary plan for family members in distant part of the home to escape out back doors and windows with pre-planned routes to get to neighbors’ homes (and hopefully phone police).
3. Place a heavy piece of furniture in your safe room(s), that can be slid in front of the door. Ensure that the doors in your safe room are reinforced in the same way that your front door is. We recommend the (reinforced door link). Basically the goal here is to make sure that the door to your safe room is difficult to kick in when locked. You need to buy time so that whoever is in the safe room can get help.
4. If more than one member of the family can handle a firearm (adults only… Under no circumstances should you allow your children access to gun safes or other lockboxes with firearms in them), having a firearm kept in a lockbox in different rooms of the home may mean that at least someone in the family is able to get to a firearm and use it (but they must truly be capable for this and be familiar with handling firearms).
5. Security experts recommend having a code word that when said (or shouted) tells one another to run for the safe room. It can be a simple word such as “ESCAPE” or a simple phrase, “GET TO SAFETY”. No need to make this complex, but under no circumstances should you make this code phrase or word a joke. Never mess around with it, never use do it as a prank.
Now, we recommend that you also hunker down in the safe room with your family before locking the door. However, if you feel the need to take defensive actions to further protect your family, make sure that they have an avenue for getting help.
What To Do in a Home Invasion: Get Help!
6. Have a telephone in the room that you can use to call the police.Warning: Many home phones operate off television or dish services nowadays; wires to these can be easily cut outside your home, which means your home phone won’t work (should home invaders cut the line), and you won’t be able to call police. So, have a secondary cell phone plugged in and charged in your safe room, as your go-to phone in a home invasion. This can simply be a cheap old cellphone, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Make sure that young children have your home address memorized, as they may have to provide it when calling 9-1-1 from a cell phone.
An additional step to protect your home land-line if you feel it’s necessary: Install a dummy phone box outside your home with dummy wires leading from it. Then, specifically for the actual phone box, use a shrub or better yet, some kind of external vent to disguise and or hide it’s existence. (You’ll have to let the phone company technician know it’s whereabouts, if the phone company is ever out for a service call, but don’t explain why it’s there. Better safe than sorry.)
7. Have a small hidden safe or lock-box inside your safe room, where you can keep a handgun that you can get to quickly. Practice running to the room, and unlocking the safe, and retrieving the gun, and being ready to fire through the door, should the home invaders make their way into the room. We recommend a combination lock that only you and other adults in your home know the code for – a safe with a key increases the chances that any children in your home find a way to open the safe, and that’s definitely something you want to avoid.
Be sure not to fire at police, who may show up in the next 5 – 15 minutes, after 9-1-1 has been called.
8. Consider having a “pump” shot-gun as back up or even your go-to firearm – also stored in a gun safe or lockbox of course. It’s said that the well-familiar sound of a pump shotgun being “pumped” (loaded), can put fear into intruders. Go to the back window, open it, and fire two shots into the air. This may be enough to scare off intruders. Shotguns are an excellent home defense weapon, because they carry with them a certain psychological intimidation factor.
9. Whether you have a shot gun or not, stay in your safe room until police arrive as far as is possible. Unless they’ve heard gun shots or know you’re inside the home, invaders may not realize that you’re in your safe room while they go through the rest of your home, collecting valuables. This is the ideal scenario. your first priority is to protect your family, and the best way to do that is to alert the police and avoid interacting with the burglars.
Defending Yourself During a Home Invasion
Eventually the home invaders are likely to find the door to the room where you and your family are hiding. Yes, you may have the legal right to shoot — but what if you can scare the robbers away without having to shoot anyone? What if these are just some teenage burglars, who have no idea that you are inside with children? Again, you may have the legal right to shoot, and you should do if you feel your life is threatened, but why not try to scare them away first?
Here’s another item to keep in your safe room, for this purpose: A bull-horn. Bull-horns are sometimes used on boats to communicate with people on land, because of how loud they magnify a person’s voice. They’ve also been used by police in situations like crowd control and at sporting events to announce scores or race results to people in the stands.
With your bull-horn, you can speak through the door, shouting, “I have a gun and I’ll shoot. Leave the house immediately. This is your final warning. The police have been called. My neighbors are being notified.” … Continue to repeat these words. As responsible gun owners know, shooting another human being is something you only do after all other possibilities have been exhausted. It is the last resort. Most burglars, knowing that they are dealing with someone who is armed, and knowing that the police have been called, will likely choose to leave as quickly as possible and make an escape rather than attempting to break into the safe room.
What To Do in a Home Invasion: The Last Resort…
One of the reasons that home invaders may flee at the sound of a bull horn is the idea that the neighbors are going to hear it. Many will also flee at the realization that the home owner has a gun. But if you’re dealing with a more brazen kind of criminal who’s actively looking to hurt people, or perhaps someone who is on drugs and isn’t in control, then all bets are off.
Though there are very few home invaders who’ll fall into this category, they are out there… and they are dangerous.
Be Prepared To Defend Your Family with a Firearm
When one of these out of control or violent home invaders encounters your safe room, they may try to break down the door, even if they know you’re inside. Hopefully you’ve fortified the doors and installed a strong deadbolt so it’s difficult to kick down. Your typical bedroom door is going to get kicked in very quickly in this situation. As stated above, have a heavy piece of furniture that can be slid in front of the door also to make it even more difficult to access the room.
If you’re 100% sure that whoever’s outside is not the police coming to your rescue, you might want to try shooting through the door. Before you do so, make sure your family are well way from the door and off to the side of it, ideally lying down (in case there’s some kind of ricochet or the home invaders shoot back through the door). Move your family to the least likely area of the room for bullets to strike.
Use A Siren To Scare Away Home Invaders
Many bull-horns have a “siren” feature that can be turned on. If your bull-horn has this function, turn it on now. Your bull-horn becomes a loud “police-like” siren – once turned on, this could fool home invaders into thinking they had triggered a home security system, or they could even mistake it for the police in the heat of the moment, which could cause them to make an escape. You can use the siren now, as a last resort, or consider using it at the first sign that a home invasion is taking place.
Alternative Strategy for What To Do in a Home Invasion: Flee Through A Back Window
At the first sign of a home invasion, shout your family’s code word or phrase and run for your family’s safe room. Once there, and the door secure, you can consider going out your back window (if there is one in the room), as long as you have a way to easily get to a safe place.
1. First, listen for the criminals. You want to be sure that the home invaders have entered your home and they’re not still outside looking for a place to enter. (Caution: They may suspect you’re inside the home, and moving silently, looking for you). You want to avoid running in to them while making your escape – they may be armed, and the last thing you want to do is surprise an armed, nervous criminal while your family are with you.
2. Open your back window and scan the property, looking for anyone who might be hiding out. If you don’t see anyone, you can take your chances and make your escape. Know where you’re going to go once you get out – make a beeline towards a place that you feel is safe.
3. Your wife can go out the window first, and you can hand any children out to her one by one, and then go yourself. Have a planned escape path in mind, that ideally leads through the rear of the property. Try not to make too much noise.
Home Invaders May Be After YOU — Not Your Belongings
While in the vast majority of cases, a home invader is probably there to rob you, this isn’t always true. There’s always the possibility that they after you or your family, with intentions to harm or kidnap or hold hostage. This is especially true if you are a high profile person or if you’re known as someone who’s wealthier in your community. Or it may just be someone with a grudge for one reason or another. While this is very rare, it happens. For this reason, in the process of escaping, you should avoid places that are very near your home. The more distance you put between yourself and the criminals, the less likely they are to find you before law enforcement arrives. Don’t go right to your next door neighbor. It might also make sense to try and get to a more public area – a convenience store or gas station – where they will have built in protocols for dealing with criminals. They may be able to help you get help faster if you haven’t already reached the police, and they’ll likely have cameras and other security equipment that may act as a deterrent.
What To Do in a Home Invasion: A Summary
- Prevention is your first and highest priority. Install a security system, make sure your home and its surroundings are well lit, fortify and reinforce your doors and windows. Get a dog, or make it seem like you have a dog. Make sure the house looks occupied, don’t let strangers into your home under any circumstances, and never, ever leave a spare key anywhere around the outside of your home.
- Set up a designated safe room and fortify the door (with Door Armor if possible) and install a strong lock on the door of the room. Have heavy furniture in the room that you can use to barricade the door. Institute a code word or phrase that signals genuine danger to your family and tell them exactly what to do when it’s used. Make sure your children know your home address by heart so they can communicate with 9-1-1 if needed.
- Have firearms or defensive weapons in the safe room, locked in a gun safe or lockbox with a combination lock, and share the code for the lock with other adults in your family. Have an emergency cell phone that’s charging and ready to go in your safe room – it doesn’t need to be a fancy phone, anything that can make calls is suitable. Use this phone to get help from law enforcement. Barricade yourself in the safe room until help arrives or the criminals have clearly departed.
- In a break in, you likely have the legal right to shoot to defend yourself, but this should be a absolute last resort. Have a bull-horn in your safe room and communicate to the criminals that you are armed and that you have contacted the police. Failing that, turn your bull horn to siren mode as an extra step to scare them off.
- If the criminals are making no attempt to break into your safe room, stay there and wait for law enforcement to arrive.
- As a last resort, if the criminals are trying to break through the safe room door for whatever reason, you can attempt to shoot through the door. Before you do so, make sure your family are well away from the door and off to the side, and tell them to lie down – the criminals may shoot back. Only use your firearm if you feel you or your family are actively in danger of being physically harmed.
Here are some additional tips and thoughts about how to survive a home invasion.
Install a home alarm system that operates on a back up battery. Even if the grid goes down, your home’s localized siren could alert neighbors that intruders have entered your home. Have a portable security device (key fob) carried on you at all times that will immediately activate your home alarm when pressed (not all alarm companies offer this feature, so choose one that does).
Invest in several canisters of police strength pepper spray and store in areas of your home that can be quickly accessed in an emergency — if you or other family members are being chased or pursued, spray directly at your attackers and you can immobilize them long enough to get to safety.
Install motion activated lights around your property; the motion of a human triggers these security lights to come on automatically — well lit areas are proven deterrents to criminals.
Caution your children on the dangers of home invasion and how to respond tactically by retreating to a safe room, sounding a bull horn siren (or activating your home’s alarm system so a siren sounds), seeking out pepper spray and using it correctly if necessary, calling 911 (if available), and making an escape (and where to go) if given the opportunity.
Beware Of A Mass Increase In Home Invasions
We’ve talked a lot about a possible U.S. collapse in the coming years on SecretsofSurvival.com. It is worth repeating here and warning readers to beware of the immediate consequences of a collapse which would result in a massive spike in home invasions and robberies. Rioters, looters, and criminals are likely to go after homes, and my heart goes out to the families that might become the victims of crimes in these sort of disastrous circumstances.
My advice: Pray for guidance on just how much self defense if any God would lead you to take. Let’s face it — in a dangerous world God can protect us but as the Bible shows that’s not always the case — sometimes we are harmed by our inaction and poor decision making. Parents have seen their children suffer because they have not taught them situational awareness and defensive strategies for dealing with dangerous situations.
Knowing that these dangers are coming at some point in the coming years I recommend readers prayerfully consider tactical training — not only may your tactical training one day protect your immediate family, but you also may be able to help other neighbors who have been targeted by crooks for home invasion or worse.