Protecting Against Home Invasions

by May 21, 2010 05/21/10

With more than hundreds of home invasions happening every year here in the United States, we’d like to present some tips on what you can do to not only protect yourself and your family, but how  to fortify your home to better resist becoming a victim.

There’s a notable difference between a burglary and a home invasion, that being you. If you’re home, it’s a home invasion. If you’re not, it’s a burglary plain and simple. Criminals don’t always know what they’re walking into during the day, but at night its a different story. Most home invasions happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays and weekends.

A criminal that breaks into a residence at night is expecting a confrontation of some kind. Hopefully it will be short lived when you shoot them dead, but as we’ve mentioned before in “Dealing with Violent Confrontations” you should always avoid a confrontation if possible.  This is the same in a home invasion scenario, not by using the same methods, but by using some forward thinking to deny criminals the opportunity.

Using the tips we’ll share below will help you in avoiding this kind of confrontation and better protect you and your family.

Analysis of a Criminal

criminalIt’s important to understand how criminals work during a home invasion and some characteristics of these violent offenders. Primarily they target homes where they’re less likely to face resistance and gain access to important information like pin numbers, jewelry, cash, etc. There’s also the chance that these criminals are just looking for a violent confrontation or sexual assault opportunity.

Unlike typical burglars, home invasions require homework, and these criminals will spend the time to properly target a person or residence. Most good burglars will watch a home to see when the homeowner is gone, but home invaders will go as far as knowing your daily routine. This will include where you work, where you shop, and where you hang out. All this information will be collected to determine not only the value of their target, but also the resistance they might face.

These criminals could use deception to approach your residence posing as a delivery man, salesman, or even have a woman accomplice to knock on the door why the agressor waits out of sight. This situation would normally occur during the day, and is a technique employed by the criminal as a scout. Always be suspicious of those that you allow into your home, such as the exterminator, carpet cleaner, repair man, etc. If something doesn’t feel right, ask them to leave and request someone else or go with another company. This is also a good time to mention to use a reputable company that’s been recommended to you by someone you trust.

When attempting to enter your residence, home invaders will employ techniques commonly found in CQB (Close Quarters Battle), which are Speed, Surprise and Violence of Action. Speed and surprise are fairly self explanatory, but Violence of Action relates to the overwhelming control these criminal will use to overwhelm their victims and instill fear. This will occur during the first 60 seconds of their initial contact as they’ll be looking to counter any threat they might face.

Working in pairs is to be expected, so remember to always expect that. If you’ve countered one threat there may be more, so always keep your head on a swivel and remember your situational awareness. You have to be prepared to be restrained with duct tape, rope or zip ties if these criminals do get the jump on you. While they shouldn’t if you’re prepared, you need to know how to defeat these restraints when the opportunity presents itself.

Home invasion criminals have been known to be incredibly lazy while ransacking a home, sitting down to eat, taking a nap, etc. All while you’re restrained and forced to watch in disbelief. We’ll avoid cliches like “watching in terror,” because if you’re reading this on ITS, you’ve hopefully adopted a sheep dog mentality and should be rationally thinking about your next move instead of playing the part of the victim.

Ironically, drug dealers are prime targets for home invasions. The abundance of cash, drugs and valuables is highly desired by other dopers and criminals. Not that its a bad thing, and we could all give a crap about them anyway.  Whatever is driving the home invader’s motives, this threat is real and one that needs to be taken seriously.

Know Your Neighborhood

neighborhoodThis can’t be stressed enough, only you know when something is awry or out of place, like a strange car parked with multiple passengers inside. Always be cautious of change and shifts in the baseline. If you’re leaving for work in the morning and you see a suspicious car parked around the corner, don’t ignore it. Circle the block and see if its still there when you return. Be a few minutes late for work and blame it on the traffic.

Walking a dog is a fantastic way to know your neighborhood, learning your neighbors patterns, what cars they drive, how many people are typically around a residence, etc. Even jogging is a good excuse to learn the neighborhood. While meeting your neighbors is never a bad thing, letting them know too much about you could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.

Note what construction vehicles and lawn mowing companies frequent your neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to call the police on a strange person/vehicle that looks out of place. You’d rather look like a paranoid idiot, than regret not preventing something from happening.

As mentioned earlier, better criminals will stake out neighborhoods, observing patterns of when people come and go and when the best time to hit them is. If something feels wrong in your neighborhood, it is wrong. Trust your gut, because if you can’t you’ve got bigger problems on your hands.

Hard Target vs. Soft Target

targetWhile we’ll get into a list of tips further in the article, it’s a good time to bring up the difference between a hard target and a soft target, as this is what criminals are looking for. Think for a minute about businesses and how much security they typically have nowadays. You don’t typically find that same level of security at a household, which makes them softer targets. Police will often patrol businesses and main thoroughfares more than they will neighborhoods.

This also applies to individuals, while looking unsuspecting can often work to your advantage, this may be one instance where it won’t. Appearing non-threatening could make you appear to be a softer target in these situations. If this is what you’re going for, great. Also be aware of how you’re dressed because criminals will look for this. Wearing expensive jewelry, watches or driving flashy cars will attract this kind of criminal scum to you, so be cognizant of this when you’re out and about.  Obviously, single females are a prime target, so if that’s you, this article is particularly important.

We’re all big advocates of SDRs or Surveillance Detection Routes, and while we’ll get into the depths of this in another article, the path you take back to your vehicle or to your final destination can reveal a lot about what threats could have latched onto you.

A simple SDR you can run while on foot is to walk right past your intended destination and walk a path that you know anyone would be going out of their way to follow. Using storefront glass and other things to note suspicious characters following you is important. Driving is the same thing, take different paths to and from destinations to ensure you haven’t picked up a tail.

Observation is always key anywhere you are, and the primary tool against recognizing threats before they happen.

Protect and Fortify

So how do you fortify your home to become a hard target and take steps to protect yourself? Education and planning are key, so use these steps below and get started!

Home Exterior

  • Keep your house well lit at night to discourage would-be criminals. Have motion detecting flood lights on low-lit areas of your home.
  • Post stickers and alarm signs on the exterior of your home. Even fake alarm decals and signs can be a deterrent.
  • Don’t leave heavy objects in the backyard that can be used to throw through windows, particularly patio furniture.
  • Invest in security cameras with motion sensors, IR and a solid recording device like a DVR. The cost on these has come down considerably from what they used to be.
  • Make sure your camera recording system is housed in a lockbox so a thief can’t take the record of their crime.
  • Internet cameras can also be a good option if you’re away from your home and still need to monitor it.
  • At the least, have a zone alarm to alert you when someone is coming to the door or up the driveway.
  • Use highly-visible house numbers so that the Police and readily identify your home.
  • Lock your gates using a padlock at the least and leave some nice surprises on top of the fence if they think about scaling it.
  • Don’t enter your home if it looks like it’s been illegally entered, leave the premises and call the police. Or go full out CQB and clear your house, it’s your call.
  • Be aware of the trash you leave on the curb. Break down boxes from recently purchased items like TVs and conceal them from prying eyes and the trash man.

Windows

  • Always lock windows, even second floor windows.
  • Use secondary locking devices on windows to prevent them from opening past a certain height. Just one more thing to make it more difficult to gain entry.
  • Ensure windows have vibration or glass-break sensors connected to the alarm system.
  • Consider Solar Screens on your windows which will not only save on your cooling bill, but allow you more privacy and prevent window shopping.
  • Solar Screens also are typically screwed into your window frame, which makes removing them more difficult.
  • Look at anti-break window film as an option. If you have glass doors, make sure they’re double paned and laminated.
  • Fortify basement windows with bars or anti-break window film. Secure windows where A/C units are attached.
  • Put a dowel rod in the track of your sliding glass door to prevent it from being opened if the lock is bypassed.
  • Secure any skylights or roof-access with upgraded hardware or anti-break window film.
  • Be aware of the bushes surrounding exterior windows. Sharp hedges (along with the noise created) will discourage these as entry points.
  • Trim your exterior bushes to prevent hiding places and trim tree limbs that allow second story or roof access.

Doors

  • Use solid-core exterior doors including the door into your garage, which should also have a deadbolt.
  • Get a wide-angle peephole and use it before answering the door, but consider covering it up while not in use.  Reverse peephole viewers are readily available.
  • Invest in  anti-kick door solutions or a  police lock to prevent brute force entry. A door chain isn’t going to help one bit, even answering the door.
  • Upgrade your locks to high security locks. Bump-Proof locks, Medeco locks and others like them are worth the investment. Most household locks are simple to bypass.
  • At the very least you should install longer screws into your door jambs and hinges, preferably 3″ screws.
  • Have a spare key hidden in an uncommon place outside your home or better yet, with a neighbor.

Home Interior

  • Get a security alarm with interior motion detectors and set the alarm when you’re at home (obviously not the interior motion detector). Criminals rely on an alarm not being set while someone is home and awake.
  • Insure your alarm is monitored and will continue to work in the event you loose your power in a storm or it happens to be neutralized. Look into cellular monitoring.
  • Have a secondary alarm keypad in your master bedroom that can be used to sound a panic alarm or quickly access alarm controls.
  • Have a plan for your family or roommates in your home in the event of a home invasion. Talk it over and know what each person’s responsibilities are. That plan should include ways to escape the home if necessary.
  • Consider a safe room as a rally point where you have the ability to protect yourself and call the police. Stash a spare cell phone here.
  • Keep your cell phone by the bed ready for you or another person to call 911.
  • Keep multiple weapons in places that you’ll likely be taken to in an invasion. Obviously you need to be aware of leaving weapons where children can get to them.
  • Have a loaded gun mounted inside the door to your safe. If you’re forced to open it, you’ll be able to give that criminal more than your valuables.
  • Get a dog. A barking dog will bring unwanted attention to a potential burglar, but don’t rely on your dog to attack a criminal unless trained to.
  • Change alarm codes often and when you have to distribute a spare key, make it to a specific (differently keyed) door in case a key is lost you’ll just have to replace one lock.
  • Record serial numbers of expensive items and have backups of your computer off-site using Mozy, Carbonite or in the cloud somehow.
  • Mark and engrave your property with your driver’s license number (not social) to aid in returning your stolen property or discourage theft in the first place.
  • Discuss the importance of home security with everyone, it only takes one person to forget to lock a door or window.
  • Bolt down safes, filing cabinets and lock up expensive items like bikes and four-wheelers.
  • Shred all personal documents using a cross-cut shredder. This includes credit card offers, envelopes with the name of your bank, etc.

Vehicles/Garage

  • Keep a weapon and tools to defeat restraints concealed in your vehicle. You could be kidnapped and forced to withdraw money from an ATM.
  • Keep spare vehicle keys or any important spares in a lock box or safe.
  • Always keep the alarm set on your vehicle, even in the garage. Consider a Club or secondary device to prevent theft, even in your garage.
  • Having your the keys next to you while you sleep, you can press the car alarm panic button in a pinch.
  • Consider disabling the release-cord to your electric garage door opener, particularly if you have garage door windows. If this function is needed you can have something nearby to use.
  • Change your factory set garage door opener code, thieves can drive neighborhoods with common openers looking for a doors that they work on.

Skill-Sets

  • Learn skill-sets like lock picking and defeating illegal restraints. If the criminal does get the jump on you, have the means to escape when the time is right.
  • Buy a gun and seek proper training on how to use it. Become proficient and know it’s limitations.
  • Get a concealed carry permit if allowed in your state. Always carry!
  • Don’t open carry if allowed. Why show all your cards if you have the option of concealed carry?
  • Use PERSEC (personal security) when discussing anything outside of your circle of trust, don’t reveal personal details to anyone who doesn’t need to know. That includes over the Internet and Facebook!
  • Letting people know when you’re away from home over Twitter and Facebook is just plain stupid.
  • Log all property into a trusted system with serial numbers, photos and even video that is stored off-site.

Closing

Please share this article with your family, friends and loved ones. Warn them of the inherent dangers of home invasions and how to protect against them. Use the resources we’ve created here on ITS Tactical to develop your skill-sets and practice them to stay proficient.

We don’t want to hear any stories of how one of our readers became a victim, rather we’d like to see a news report on you gunning down a criminal during a home invasion. Nothing warms our hearts more than hearing those kinds of stories on the news.

Throw up any useful tips that we may have overlooked and contribute to the information we’ve presented here. The more everyone knows the better prepared we’ll all be.


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scaredmumma
scaredmumma

Do you have any tips for escaping from second storey Windows with toddlers and/or babies? Thank you.

scott
scott

if your unwilling or afraid of using a gun, try some wasp spray, it works wonders on the eyes and it has a range of 20 feet or more.

scott
scott

if you not willing to use a gun like my wife.  Get some wasp spray to keep next to your bed, it works wonders on an intruders eyes and has up to a 20 foot range.

Trish
Trish

Some great info here - just thought of one thing while I was reading. You mention leaving a key outside in an unusual hiding place? I took that one step further. I had a detached garage, and I hid a key to the garage outside the house. Then inside the garage (again well-hidden) I placed a key to the house, and an extra key to my vehicle. That way, anyone finding the outside key (unlikely) still wouldn't have access to the house. Nothing of value was stored in the garage either, unless they wanted to steal my lawnmower.

I like the idea of large dogs too. I like German Shepherds myself. I will say though, just having a dog doesn't make you safe. There have been three separate times I've had guys follow me in a very suspicious way while I had a 115 pound German Shepherd with me, and once two panhandlers came up to my car window and pretty much demanded money while he snarled from the backseat. It can be a crazy world ... (Fortunately I managed to reach safety in each circumstance ... though one time in particular was really hairy ... nothing like screaming through town doing 80 or so mph just HOPING the police will pull you over because of the guys chasing you ... only to find out the police don't come to that part of town. Thanks to my dad for misdirecting me where I shouldn't have been ... )

Trish
Trish

Some great info here - just thought of one thing while I was reading. You mention leaving a key outside in an unusual hiding place? I took that one step further. I had a detached garage, and I hid a key to the garage outside the house. Then inside the garage (again well-hidden) I placed a key to the house, and an extra key to my vehicle. That way, anyone finding the outside key (unlikely) still wouldn't have access to the house. Nothing of value was stored in the garage either, unless they wanted to steal my lawnmower. I like the idea of large dogs too. I like German Shepherds myself. I will say though, just having a dog doesn't make you safe. There have been three separate times I've had guys follow me in a very suspicious way while I had a 115 pound German Shepherd with me, and once two panhandlers came up to my car window and pretty much demanded money while he snarled from the backseat. It can be a crazy world ... (Fortunately I managed to reach safety in each circumstance ... though one time in particular was really hairy ... nothing like screaming through town doing 80 or so mph just HOPING the police will pull you over because of the guys chasing you ... only to find out the police don't come to that part of town. Thanks to my dad for misdirecting me where I shouldn't have been ... )

Frank
Frank

People should know that home invaders are geting smarter & wearing body armor & working in teams, we had a team of 4 working our area for a while they would send 2 in the front door & 1 through a window then 1 through the back door.

These guys were very good almost military precision (I should know as a 9 year veteran) they would tie everyone up then rape the women age 14-40 didn't matter how old while the husband had to watch they would eat & then steal the home owners vehicle meet at a location with a 5th member of the team & burn the stolen vehicle.

The weren't ever caught but were described as physically large black men with bulletproof vests so a pistol or shotgun does you no good, you need a high powered rifle for the level 3A vests described by victims.

We live in a farming community where crime is something we read about or see on the news but as a conservative christian community we aren't used to violence or crime but the main thing these criminals are looking for is guns/cash/jewelry.

They just stopped all of a sudden & were never caught so they aren't dumb but will surely show up somewhere else.

We have seen a 12% rise in break ins or home invasions since the liberal socialist gun ban talk & panic buying causing gun & ammo prices to skyrocket & the criminals that have been caught are not from our area they are from democrat/liberal governed & inhabited cities & know that the country is a great place to find guns with long response times from police since we are so far from town.

I recommend a good gun safe bolted down to the floor, tractor supply has one that will keep 99% of smash & grab thieves out they are about $550 but they have 10% off coupons all the time just register on their website & you will get a coupon sent to you then for $50 TSC will deliver it.

We need more folks with gun safes to keep guns out of the bad guys hands because the liberal socialist progressives love it when they can expose gun violence to further their agenda.

A good camera system that you can watch from a work computer or your cell phone can be had for $500 wireless or wired your choice & they have 100' of night vision so it's time to make the criminal's job tougher.

Frank
Frank

People should know that home invaders are geting smarter & wearing body armor & working in teams, we had a team of 4 working our area for a while they would send 2 in the front door & 1 through a window then 1 through the back door. These guys were very good almost military precision (I should know as a 9 year veteran) they would tie everyone up then rape the women age 14-40 didn't matter how old while the husband had to watch they would eat & then steal the home owners vehicle meet at a location with a 5th member of the team & burn the stolen vehicle. The weren't ever caught but were described as physically large black men with bulletproof vests so a pistol or shotgun does you no good, you need a high powered rifle for the level 3A vests described by victims. We live in a farming community where crime is something we read about or see on the news but as a conservative christian community we aren't used to violence or crime but the main thing these criminals are looking for is guns/cash/jewelry. They just stopped all of a sudden & were never caught so they aren't dumb but will surely show up somewhere else. We have seen a 12% rise in break ins or home invasions since the liberal socialist gun ban talk & panic buying causing gun & ammo prices to skyrocket & the criminals that have been caught are not from our area they are from democrat/liberal governed & inhabited cities & know that the country is a great place to find guns with long response times from police since we are so far from town. I recommend a good gun safe bolted down to the floor, tractor supply has one that will keep 99% of smash & grab thieves out they are about $550 but they have 10% off coupons all the time just register on their website & you will get a coupon sent to you then for $50 TSC will deliver it. We need more folks with gun safes to keep guns out of the bad guys hands because the liberal socialist progressives love it when they can expose gun violence to further their agenda. A good camera system that you can watch from a work computer or your cell phone can be had for $500 wireless or wired your choice & they have 100' of night vision so it's time to make the criminal's job tougher.

JQ
JQ

pro tip - instead of placing a dowel along the track of your sliding glass door to block the door from opening you should take a piece of dowel with rubber tips on each end and wedge it about halfway up the door. Placing the dowel along the track is easily defeated with a flat head screwdriver or wire coat hanger. It's how I used to get into the house after school if i forgot my house key.

I'd also like to point out that sliding glass doors can also be popped off the track completely even if they're locked with a dowel in place.

JQ
JQ

pro tip - instead of placing a dowel along the track of your sliding glass door to block the door from opening you should take a piece of dowel with rubber tips on each end and wedge it about halfway up the door. Placing the dowel along the track is easily defeated with a flat head screwdriver or wire coat hanger. It's how I used to get into the house after school if i forgot my house key. I'd also like to point out that sliding glass doors can also be popped off the track completely even if they're locked with a dowel in place.

Kizzle
Kizzle

After my home was broken into, we installed bars in the basement windows, as well as a bar along the inside of the door from the basement to the backyard. Since that door opens into the basement, we put the bar inside, so even if the deadbolt and lock are picked, the door can't be opened enough to get in. When we want to open the door, we just slide the bar out, toilet paper roll style.

Carrie
Carrie

For home interior, baby gates are a great way to slow down an intruder, especially if your house has multiple levels. If someone breaks in to your basement, you can keep baby gates locked at the top and bottom of each set of stairs, giving you the opportunity to call 911 and grab your weapon and aim, while they stumble with each gate. Be sure to install the tallest and sturdiest gates you can find.

Bob
Bob

Here's an amusing one:

I reside in Mexico and went on vacation this past summer.

Upon returning, I found a single bar (from the window bars) had been cut (they were cheap flat bars), the thieves had pried open the window and had enough space for a body to slide in.

Funny thing is, my laptop had died the week before (which is why I had not bothered to store it in a place other than the small house which I rent). The thief had taken an old ounce of silver I kept on the coffee table and a pack of Marlboro's. Now, I don't smoke, but keep the smokes as a joke for my friends, they contain exploding cigarettes (one of which I found on the floor). He had also ransacked my clothing but failed to locate my one ounce gold coin (which no longer is kept in the home either!).

So ultimately, the thief missed out on an ounce of gold, had a cigarette explode in his face and got home to find out the laptop wouldn't turn on.

Suffice to say, lesson learned. Got new bars on the window (from owner), placed wood on the inside so if they are pried open they can't be slid open. Got a stun gun at the very least (working on the firearm) and have made sure to cover windows to prevent visibility from outside. Also use a doorstop alarm, dog would be good idea, etc. Great site by the way, my first time here.

Bob
Bob

Here's an amusing one: I reside in Mexico and went on vacation this past summer. Upon returning, I found a single bar (from the window bars) had been cut (they were cheap flat bars), the thieves had pried open the window and had enough space for a body to slide in. Funny thing is, my laptop had died the week before (which is why I had not bothered to store it in a place other than the small house which I rent). The thief had taken an old ounce of silver I kept on the coffee table and a pack of Marlboro's. Now, I don't smoke, but keep the smokes as a joke for my friends, they contain exploding cigarettes (one of which I found on the floor). He had also ransacked my clothing but failed to locate my one ounce gold coin (which no longer is kept in the home either!). So ultimately, the thief missed out on an ounce of gold, had a cigarette explode in his face and got home to find out the laptop wouldn't turn on. Suffice to say, lesson learned. Got new bars on the window (from owner), placed wood on the inside so if they are pried open they can't be slid open. Got a stun gun at the very least (working on the firearm) and have made sure to cover windows to prevent visibility from outside. Also use a doorstop alarm, dog would be good idea, etc. Great site by the way, my first time here.

Mack
Mack

Great article. I would add for that entry door fortification, I recently installed AmrorConcepts Door Jamb armor on the front door of my residence. Once installed, it offers VERY SOLID reinforcement of the door frame, and the door is noticably more solid when the bolts are thrown. It was very easy to install; only took a couple of hours (faster if you have two people). It is most definitely the best money I've ever spent on physical home security, my Mossberg 590 not withstanding.

JA Simmons V
JA Simmons V

I really wish ya'll would publish the sources of where these statistics come from.

Ken
Ken

A point on burglar alarms. I know of no police officer who regards a residential burglar alarm as a top priority. Too many false alarms to risk the motoring public running code. If fact, I know of no residential alarm on any team while I've been working the whole time I've been a police officer that was an actual burglary. Not saying it never happens, but the odds are so much in favor of it being a false alarm that most police will not run code or even be in much of a hurry. Neighbors calling in gives a better chance of getting police on scene in a timely manner.

In regards to a home invasion, dialing 911 on a land line is a better bet than an alarm. Dial and put the phone down. A speaker phone is best with the speaker on low or off. A land line is best because dispatchers will know your address. I've been frustrated many times on a cell 911 call where I couldn't find the caller. I'll probably never know what became of those people. Cell phones only work if you have time to give a good, clear, and accurate address. Dial and toss on top of cabinets, under the couch, or any place out of sight but won't muffle the sounds too much. Many robberies I work include the suspects taking the cellphones to delay victims calling the authorities. Hide your phone: they will be looking for one!

In regards to land lines, fortify your outside phone box and cable. Hiding it is best--can't defeat something you can't find. Your big box home improvement stores will have the means of armoring the box and cables. If you do have an alarm, make sure they monitor the land line. The alarm should go off as soon at the land line is cut. This should give you plenty of time to arm yourself, gather your loved ones, and call 911 via cell.

I think a key element in guarding against a home invasion is not making your home a bunker, but slowing the invaders enough to allow you to prepare for their entry and met it with the appropriate amount of force.

Very good article, BTW.

Ken
Ken

A point on burglar alarms. I know of no police officer who regards a residential burglar alarm as a top priority. Too many false alarms to risk the motoring public running code. If fact, I know of no residential alarm on any team while I've been working the whole time I've been a police officer that was an actual burglary. Not saying it never happens, but the odds are so much in favor of it being a false alarm that most police will not run code or even be in much of a hurry. Neighbors calling in gives a better chance of getting police on scene in a timely manner. In regards to a home invasion, dialing 911 on a land line is a better bet than an alarm. Dial and put the phone down. A speaker phone is best with the speaker on low or off. A land line is best because dispatchers will know your address. I've been frustrated many times on a cell 911 call where I couldn't find the caller. I'll probably never know what became of those people. Cell phones only work if you have time to give a good, clear, and accurate address. Dial and toss on top of cabinets, under the couch, or any place out of sight but won't muffle the sounds too much. Many robberies I work include the suspects taking the cellphones to delay victims calling the authorities. Hide your phone: they will be looking for one! In regards to land lines, fortify your outside phone box and cable. Hiding it is best--can't defeat something you can't find. Your big box home improvement stores will have the means of armoring the box and cables. If you do have an alarm, make sure they monitor the land line. The alarm should go off as soon at the land line is cut. This should give you plenty of time to arm yourself, gather your loved ones, and call 911 via cell. I think a key element in guarding against a home invasion is not making your home a bunker, but slowing the invaders enough to allow you to prepare for their entry and met it with the appropriate amount of force. Very good article, BTW.

robert herbert
robert herbert

i have my CCW qualification target on my front door, behind the steel security door.

Erik Brown
Erik Brown

Getting in late on this... but a store near my home recently had a rash of car prowls. People would break into the car, steal garage door openers and vehicle registrations. Address and key if you will. Keep openers out of sight.

Smilodon
Smilodon

I just had a couple of friends who's home was broken into while gone for an hour and a half. They might of even disturbed the burgler. Great article, I'm forwarding it to them. To the poster above, Americans are not paranoid, just prepared. Makes it easier to enjoy life if you are prepared.

Chris
Chris

I'd like some more info on solar screens, I googled but was only able to find screen replacements with higher solar rating and nothing that was screwed in. Is there something that covers both sides of a window, mounts externally and isn't just a replacement pop in?

Thompson
Thompson

Great article, thanks for the tips.

flyahawk
flyahawk

Great article thanks! I had never heard of lock bumping before. Time to upgrade locks!

Riaan Rossouw
Riaan Rossouw

In South Africa this is part of everyday life.

How about adding a piece on what to look for when buying a home or designing it from scratch.

I.e. The public view of my house was designed to say "go-away" with open rocky garden areas, unfriendly prickly plants, small high set windows and motion sensing security lights. From outside the house appears completely dark, even when every light inside is on - this way no-one can be sure if we're home or not.

A note on burgular bars, set them inside the window, this way the glass has to be broken to get at them. Quite often car jacks are used to break out external bars.

Forget about vibration sensors on the windows, too many false alarms from wind.

A good armed responce company is a must, the police can take up to 6 hours to respond - they're too busy or whatever.

Interview the responding officers to get an idea of how good they are. Here the quality of responder varies wildly, from ex-SOF/SWAT to wannabe cowboys whom I wouldn't trust with a water pistol.

Riaan Rossouw
Riaan Rossouw

In South Africa this is part of everyday life. How about adding a piece on what to look for when buying a home or designing it from scratch. I.e. The public view of my house was designed to say "go-away" with open rocky garden areas, unfriendly prickly plants, small high set windows and motion sensing security lights. From outside the house appears completely dark, even when every light inside is on - this way no-one can be sure if we're home or not. A note on burgular bars, set them inside the window, this way the glass has to be broken to get at them. Quite often car jacks are used to break out external bars. Forget about vibration sensors on the windows, too many false alarms from wind. A good armed responce company is a must, the police can take up to 6 hours to respond - they're too busy or whatever. Interview the responding officers to get an idea of how good they are. Here the quality of responder varies wildly, from ex-SOF/SWAT to wannabe cowboys whom I wouldn't trust with a water pistol.

Steve Thompson
Steve Thompson

Haha, Americans are so paranoid. Just try and enjoy your lives!

JT
JT

Also, a trend that has been continuing in GA is police and LEO impersonations. These guys will act as if they are executing a search warrant, knock and announce or announce on entry. Some have been known to have body armor and identifiers such as a FBI or DEA jackets along with badges. Chances are that if they have an AK74 or something to that effect they are bad guys. These guys are usually ripping other bad guys but have been known to hit the wrong house a time or two. My only advice to combat this is to pay attention to your neighbors. If there is a drug house in or near you and you know about it then chances are someone else knows about it and may want to take something from them.

dan knoll
dan knoll

#1 most important anti-burglar or anti-home invasion item is a dog in my opinion. I am a Corrections Officer and in talking to convicted Burglars they all say they hate dogs and hardly ever hit houses with them. We raise German Shepherds and nothing says "go to a different house" like a couple 110 lb snarling, barking dogs.

Lyne
Lyne

I rember reading a tip about using a tennis ball with a small slit in the back to conceal valuables and jewlery from thieves.

Kevin Larkin
Kevin Larkin

Thanks for this interesting article. I recommend that homeowners also look into defensive landscaping. Shrubs and hedges were already mentioned but there is plenty more that you can do.

KevLar

Kevin Larkin
Kevin Larkin

Thanks for this interesting article. I recommend that homeowners also look into defensive landscaping. Shrubs and hedges were already mentioned but there is plenty more that you can do. KevLar

Tony
Tony

The admonition against open carry rubbed me the wrong way. Certainly, there are personal security issues involved, but on the other hand there is the "greater picture" to consider as well. Too low profile from law-abiding shooters results in the general public only hearing about firearms in relation to criminal activity - and pretty soon you won't be allowed to legally carry concealed, either.

I'm not saying everybody should open carry. I'm just saying that on a strategic level, it has its benefits - and people ought to approach the issue thoughtfully, like the complex issue that it is, and not in terms of absolutes.

Tony
Tony

The admonition against open carry rubbed me the wrong way. Certainly, there are personal security issues involved, but on the other hand there is the "greater picture" to consider as well. Too low profile from law-abiding shooters results in the general public only hearing about firearms in relation to criminal activity - and pretty soon you won't be allowed to legally carry concealed, either. I'm not saying everybody should open carry. I'm just saying that on a strategic level, it has its benefits - and people ought to approach the issue thoughtfully, like the complex issue that it is, and not in terms of absolutes.

Ratfink
Ratfink

i am no expert but i am confident in my training but for home fighting i thought why make it a solo thing for me so i sent my wife out for some classes and now i have a second shooter if somthing would happen at home so i would like to add to train your family if you have one that lives with you and we have our room clearing plans and are both military trained plus extensive clases in the private sector with shotguns rifles and pistols

Oregun89
Oregun89

Great article, lots of good info.

OscarDelta
OscarDelta

Excellent stuff...not such an issue over here yet. However we do get burglars breaking into dwellings to obtain keys for high value cars parked on drives etc. They'll get in via the uPVC front/rear door in seconds using just a small flat head screw driver if the door is not double locked! Could turn nasty if disturbed. Whilst sleeping should you keep your keys somewhere in your house so a burglar does not have to enter the bedrooms to find them or do you keep them with you in the bedroom?

Brett
Brett

And... Sent out to our neighborhood watch distro list. VERY good article, thank you!

loki4606
loki4606

I would like to add on the PERSEC issue. if you are traveling and dont have someone at home to watch or live at your place where valuables are, then dont post crap on facebook or other social networks. It broadcast out to everyone "Im not home".

Ben Bredfeldt
Ben Bredfeldt

To echo JA, could you please publish the source of the 8,000 invasions per day statistic? That comes to almost 3 million home invasions per year. That can't be correct. It is more than double the total number of violent crimes per year and about a third of the total property crimes per year.

I don't mean to discount the importance of hardening one's self against home invasion, and in all other respects the article is terriffic.

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Chris, those are the ones. Typically Solar Screens are oversized and custom made to your window dimensions to not fit in the screen track. When they come out to install them they will screw them into the window frame using sheet metal screws. You can always add more screws yourself.

As far as mounting externally and covering both sides of the window, I'm not sure if you explained that right, but it's not possible.

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Chris, those are the ones. Typically Solar Screens are oversized and custom made to your window dimensions to not fit in the screen track. When they come out to install them they will screw them into the window frame using sheet metal screws. You can always add more screws yourself. As far as mounting externally and covering both sides of the window, I'm not sure if you explained that right, but it's not possible.

Radicalpony
Radicalpony

@ steve.....every future victims reply...thinking your always safe...thats the ignorance that people get killed for every day in this country...good luck 20 percenter!!

S Barringer
S Barringer

I vacillate both ways on open carry. Whether I open carry or carry concealed depends upon my location. Around my neighborhood (not a good area), I do sometimes open carry, letting the criminal element know that I am not an older woman victim and will blow them to hell. (Open carry implies this.) Obvious security measures around my property also warns them that we are on the constant alert.

But, in really bad neighborhoods that I cycle through, I carry concealed. Why invite trouble? Then if they want to bother a lone female, it's their funeral.

S Barringer
S Barringer

I vacillate both ways on open carry. Whether I open carry or carry concealed depends upon my location. Around my neighborhood (not a good area), I do sometimes open carry, letting the criminal element know that I am not an older woman victim and will blow them to hell. (Open carry implies this.) Obvious security measures around my property also warns them that we are on the constant alert. But, in really bad neighborhoods that I cycle through, I carry concealed. Why invite trouble? Then if they want to bother a lone female, it's their funeral.

Clayton
Clayton

Especially considering that most rapes are 1) not performed using overt physical force and 2) performed by people known to the victim (i.e., date rape), I have a hard time believing that 60% of rapes occur during home invasions.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Protecting Against Home Invasions – ITS Tactical – ITS Tactical has done a lot to tear down the illusion of security that many people have by showing how easy it is to pick locks, escape handcuffs, etc. Now they are offering some no nonsense tips for protecting your home. [...]

  2. [...] Protecting Against Home Invasions – An inside look into a home invader’s mindset and rationale. It offers tips on what to expect once a burglar enters your home and what you can do to be ready to strike back. [...]

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