Its 3am and you’re sleeping soundly. Slowly you awaken from your slumber by strange noises coming from outside. You think nothing of it at first, must just be someone out in the street, maybe its the teenager from the house next door trying to sneak out again.
But no it sounds really close… kind of like the sound wood makes on mental… or wood breaking? Yeah thats it! Wood splintering, but why? Your mind starts to race as you realise its your house, probably your front door.
The noise suddenly stops and is replaced by another sound… footsteps.
What do you do? Should you run? Hide? Grab a weapon and fight?
As with everything in life, surviving a house invasion is about preparation. The first thing you need to consider is how you want to respond.
In most cases, unless you are a trained professional, the safest thing to do is avoid confrontation. But how? Here are some tips:
DON’T GO OUTSIDE
According to veteran police office Sgt Mark Buschena, you don’t know what type of person you’re dealing with so it’s best to stay inside.
DETER THE BURGLAR
According to Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell, most burglars check if a home is occupied before they break in. Turning up the TV volume or turning on an outdoor light are good ways to let a burglar know someone is home.
CALL THE POLICE
If the burglar makes it inside your home and wasn’t deterred by noise, it might be best to hide, call the police, give your location and stay on the phone until the police get there.
Don’t go outside as the police may mistake you for the burglar.
Keep your mobile phone close to you always (you probably do this anyway) and ensure it’s charged. Also, remember to turn the phone to silent if you’re hiding.
If for any reason you need to escape the house, get to a safe place immediately. Run to your neighbours house or jump in your car and drive away, Make sure you keep your car keys close, you never know when you may need them.
However if you’re confronted…
If you have no choice but to face the intruder, you need to be very aware of the danger.
PUT YOUR HANDS UP
You gain nothing by acting aggressively, even if you’re mad and afraid, showing this to the intruder works against you.
A good tip from the guys at Citizen Defence Training is to raise your hands to should height, as this appears compliant but your hands are close if you need to defend yourself.
AVOID EYE CONTACT
Making eye contact can be interpreted as a challenge or a threat by a highly stressed and agitated burglar. Look away or look down, if you have a chance, put your head down and say you haven’t seen their face. Don’t worry if you can’t identify them, that’s what your security cameras are for.
DONT TRY TO PROTECT YOUR THINGS
Your life is more valuable than your possession. Your Macbook can be replaced, a punctured lung not as easily. Stay calm and let them take what they want.
….And if it gets worse
Sometimes you have no choice but to defend yourself. This should absolutely be the last resort. If you find yourself in this situation these are some things to think about…
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON CAREFULLY
Whatever weapon you grab might be used against you should you be overpowered, so keep that in mind. For this reason a bat might be a better choice than a knife.
Unless you have a gun, you don’t want the intruder to know you have a weapon so keep it hidden until they rush you. Don’t underestimate the element of surprise. That’s one thing you do have in this situation. You know your place better.
KNOW HOW TO HANDLE YOUR WEAPON
There is no point grabbing a weapon if you’re not comfortable with it or don’t know how to use it most effectively.
DON’T GET CARRIED AWAY
When you have the chance, escape, even if you think you’re winning the fight. The tables can turn in seconds. When you have the opportunity to escape the house, take it.
It pays to give some thought to what you would do if an intruder broke into your home. It may never happen but it’s best to be prepared nonetheless.
Here is a recap of what to do:
- Avoid going outside to investigate strange noises, you don’t know who you’re dealing with
- Make noise to alert the burglar that someone is home
- Call the police as soon as possible so they can send a car out
- If confronted do not challenge the intruder, give them a chance to get away
- Identify a weapon you can use if threatened and keep it concealed until you need it
- Escaping is better option than staying to fight so always look for the chance to escape