Home invasion is one of the major security threats that homeowners face today. No matter how safe your neighbourhood is, you can never completely rule out the chances of antisocial elements targeting you.
A study shows that housebreaking is the number one crime in South Africa. Home invasion robbery can cause extensive damage to property and life & beefing up your home security can help prevent this unfortunate event.
That said, cases of people getting targeted even after employing security precautions aren’t unheard of. They say to expect the best, prepare for the worst. Though taking steps to fortify your home should top your priority list, you should also be prepared to face your worst fear. To help you get started, we impart a few home invasion tips.
What to do when your home is being invaded?
- Avoid confronting the home invader
Confronting an intruder can have disastrous and horrifying consequences. When an intruder enters your property, your priority should be ensuring the safety of your loved ones, not turning the tables on the person (even if the suspect is not wielding a weapon).
Usually, burglars have no intention of harming anyone and leave after collecting whatever valuable they can find. If you come face to face with the invader, cooperate. Most burglars enter a property when there’s no one home. Instead of trying to catch a fleeing burglar, be a good witness by documenting everything right from the items stolen to property damage, if any. Call the authorities and prevent anyone from entering the crime scene. Remember, your safety and the wellbeing of your loved ones is much more precious than your possessions. Avoid doing anything that can potentially startle the invader, forcing them to take an extreme step. Trying to stop the person can only have dire consequences (such as jeopardize the safety of a loved one).
- Act swiftly
When you see a home invader entering your property, pressing the panic button is the last thing you want to do. Instead, stay calm. When an intruder breaks in, the next 30 seconds are extremely critical to how the entire scenario plays out. Try to determine important details such as the number of burglars, the areas that they intend to target, and whether they pose a threat to your safety. Stay quiet and take precautions to avoid being spotted. Once you have an idea of what the intruders are up to, create an effective action plan with your family members.
- Move to your designated safe room
Trying to leave your home during a home invasion can be risky. To steer clear of safety issues, move to a designated safe room. When preparing the safe room, remember to stock it with a flashlight, phone, water, and a self-defence weapon that can be used if the situation gets out of hand and confronting the intruder is the only option you have. You may also want to have a bulky furniture piece that you can slide in front of the entrance. If you do not hear any noises, do not leave the safe room assuming that the intruders have left. Instead, stay inside until help arrives.
- Call for help
The police are equipped and trained to handle potentially dangerous situations. Every law enforcement officer receives special training to tackle home invaders, which is a good enough reason to place your trust in them, instead of trying to take matters into your own hands. Once you and other occupants have assembled in the safe room, call the police to apprise them of your situation. If you are unable to talk to the operator due to any reason, don’t hang up. Instead, leave your phone on and put it on speaker mode so that the person on the other side can hear what’s going on.
- Escape through a rear window
Escaping through a rear entrance/window can be a risky manoeuvre, especially if you do not know how to plan the exercise. Before starting to work on an escape plan, make sure that the invader has entered your home and is still not outside trying to figure out a way to enter the property. The last thing you want to do is startle an armed robber by running into them. Thoroughly scan the escape route and ensure that no one is hiding out. If you don’t find anyone, take your chances and make a beeline for your neighbour’s home or any other area that you consider to be safe. To avoid attracting unwanted attention, move very cautiously, keeping noise to a minimum.
Many homeowners react impulsively during a home invasion. This may cause the invader to snap, and they may attack the homeowner or a loved one. Consider retaliating as the last option. Think about confronting the invader only if your or a loved one’s safety is at stake. If the criminal is trying to break through the safe room and you do not expect help to arrive in the next few minutes, you can take action.