By Tom Clarke
For many Americans, home invasions are what happen to other people. Most people do not plan for this as they do not believe they will ever be the victim of this type of crime, or any type of crime for that matter. Initially the best defense is awareness. Being alert can save your life and that of your family. As in any emergency situation, Do Not rely on the police or other people to come to your rescue in your time of need.
- NEVER open the door for a simple knock or for anyone selling or asking questions unless you know them. If you open it, you have just allowed the criminals entry to your home and have jeopardized the safety of your entire family.
- Develop a crisis/emergency plan with your family. Rehearse it so that everyone is sure of his or her roles. Try to work in as many variables as you can think of. When unsure of how to go about developing such a plan, do not hesitate to contact a professional for help.
- Keep a cellular phone accessible inside your home. Make sure it is always charged and in good working order. Your cell phone is no good if it is off; leave it on through the night.
- While in your home, keep all the doors locked. Do not leave your garage door open at any time, unless you are doing something directly in front of it. If you are outside mowing the lawn, keep the garage door closed and locked.
- Vary the routes you travel daily to work and/or recreational activities. These criminals can also monitor a traditional or regular pattern of your schedule in order to follow you directly back to your home.
- Know your neighborhood. Be familiar with the people, their vehicles and their typical daily routines. Be alert if anything is out of sorts. Unfamiliar people or vehicles.
- When approaching your home after being out, scan the area for anything out of place or unusual prior to entering your property.
- Always maintain proper lighting to the approach of your residence. Be alert if one or more lights are not working.
- Set up key words with your family members so that you can all communicate an emergency covertly, in the event you or a family member is in trouble. An example of this is as follows; you are out shopping, your youngest daughter who is 17 years old is home but an intruder is with her. You call her from your cellular phone on the way back from your work or outing and she answers by hitting the key pad three times then saying to you “I am sorry you must have the wrong number” and presses the key pad as many times as possibly before she hangs up. This is your signal that she is in grave danger and you immediately call the police.
- When possible, designate or construct one room or place in your home to be the “safe room”. This room must maintain a very solid door (fire proof when possible), heavily constructed walls and ceiling. Always keep a form of communication, preferably a cellular phone in that space that is active and fully charged. Just to mention a few other items that are important to maintain inside that room, potable drinking water, non-perishable food items, weapons and a separate electrical supply (when feasible).