It’s a situation nobody ever wants to have to face: someone has broken into your home and you have to figure out what to do.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
Hopefully you’ve got a home security system in place already that can send an alert to local authorities while you focus on getting your family and yourself to safety (it’s better not to engage a burglar–just hide). If you don’t have any sort of home security measures, it’s time to put some in place. You can assess the newest home security features at SecurityChoice.com.
Your security system should have:
An alarm, preferably a loud one to alert neighbors and (hopefully) scare off intruders before they can do any damage.
Built in communication so that, as already mentioned, authorities are automatically alerted to the break in and you can concentrate on getting to safety.
Remote monitoring. Find a system that will send your video (and hopefully audio) surveillance feed to your smart phone. This way you can record what is happening (for prosecution) as well as figure out the best way to get to safety without risking engaging the intruder.
Do Not Engage the Intruder
Studies have shown that confronting an intruder increases your likelihood of getting hurt. Burglars who are interrupted are more likely to lash out and attack the person who has interrupted them. It’s a fear response and one that you would be better off avoiding. Make sure that everybody has a safe hiding spot within the home “just in case”.
Make sure that all hiding spaces can be locked from the inside. Set up a “safe word” with your kids. Safe words are code words that families use to help children (and adults sometimes) tell the difference between a stranger who is actually sent to help them by a parent and a stranger who might be trying to harm them. Tell your kids never to come out of a hiding space unless the person on the other side shares the safe word.
Alert the Authorities
The longer you wait to alert local law enforcement, the more likely it is that the intruder is going to both get what he came for and get away without being caught. Keep your phone nearby at all times, just in case. Install one of the many personal security apps that will allow you to send a text or alert to local law enforcement with your GPS coordinates without having to actually stop to make the call. This way you can get the police headed your way with just a couple pushes of a button.
Do not make a single sound. You do not want to attract the burglar’s attention or give away your location. Practice moving around silently with your kids. Practice listening for footsteps.
Talk about these things regularly with your family. Remember: even though it’s scary and you hope it will never happen, having a plan in place is the best way to increase your chances of getting through a home invasion safely.