Breaking and Entering – Don’t Be a Victim

crime-preventionYou hear it on the news all of the time. “We live in a safe neighborhood. We don’t even lock our doors at night. We can’t believe this happened here.”

Then, the camera cuts to yellow police tape blocking off a door.

No one can believe it. Statistically, the victim lived in a safe neighborhood, so what happened?

The fact of the matter is, home invasions can happen anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you live in a gated community or in the inner city. Someone might break into your house.

The person who breaks in might steal your things, or he might even attack you. Because of that, you have to protect yourself (and your family) from intruders.

Staying Safe

You need to:

  • Form a Neighborhood Watch
  • Get a Dog
  • Prepare Your Home
  • Make it Hard for the Burglar to Hide
  • Get an Alarm System

Form a Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch SignSafety comes in numbers. With that in mind, consider forming or participating in a neighborhood watch. If a criminal walks into your neighborhood and notices a neighborhood watch sign, there’s a good chance he will turn around and leave.

If you can’t form a neighborhood watch, take some time to get to know your neighbors. Neighbors that like one another look out for one another. If your neighbors know you well, they’ll let you know if they see someone unfamiliar lurking around your home.

Get a Dog

A guard dog can help you protect your home. Most burglars don’t want to mess with dogs, so they’ll go elsewhere if they see a dog. In some cases, the criminal doesn’t even need to see the dog. If he hears barking, he’ll bolt for the next home.
It’s important to note that there are some responsibilities that come with owning guard dogs.

First, you should have the dog trained. While this isn’t mandatory, it’s a good idea if you want the dog to protect your home.
You also have to provide your dog with food, which can be costly, especially if you get a large dog. Since guard dogs are usually large, your food bill could get really high.

On top of food, you’ll have to pay for:

  • Checkups
  • Flea Prevention
  • Heartworm Prevention
  • Medical Needs

You also need to make sure you choose a dog that meshes well with your family. After all, you’ll have more than a guard dog. You’ll actually have a new member of the family.

Only get a dog if you’re certain you can handle these responsibilities.

Prepare Your Home

Home SecurityThere are several ways you can prevent a home invasion. First make sure people can’t see your valuables from the road or windows. If a burglar sees a big screen TV, he may not be able to stop himself from breaking in, even if he sees a big alarm sticker. With that in mind, keep those items out of sight.

Speaking of big ticket items, don’t brag about your big purchases, since that can attract the wrong kind of attention. That means you shouldn’t even post a picture of your new home theater system on Facebook. As enticing as it may be to show off your new item, you don’t want to attract a burglar.

On top of that, wait until the last minute when putting boxes that contained expensive items in your outdoor garbage cans. Put the boxes out right before the garbage truck comes, or load them up in your car and dispose of them somewhere else. A big computer box is just a sign that says “Hey, I bought a new, top of the line computer. Come and get it!”

Additionally, don’t put any information in the trash that would make it easy for a thief to determine your net worth or belongings. Shred your bank statements and credit card receipts before placing them in the trash. After you shred them, put part of the shredded material in one garbage bag, and the rest of it in another garbage bag.

Also, put a wide angled peephole on your doors. Be sure to check the peephole before opening the door. Often, people let intruders into their homes. You don’t want that to happen to you.

Now that you know how to protect your house, let’s move on to the next step.

Make it Hard for the Burglar to Hide

security lights

Burglars typically hit homes that they can break into without being caught. That means they don’t want to be visible to other people. With that in mind, you have to make it hard for people to hide on your property.

First, light your property up. You need to have lights in the front, back and sides of your home. Consider motion sensor lighting all around your home. That way, the light will actually follow the burglar.

Buy a lock that will be difficult to pick. Most invaders only want to spend a minute trying to break into a home. If they can’t pick your lock in that amount of time, they might move on to the next house. Otherwise, they might get spotted.

Also, make sure there is a good line of sight from the road to your doors. Hidden doors make it easy for people to break in. Thus, you need to trim back your foliage and leave your porch light on so people can see if someone is breaking into your home.

Also, consider installing a surveillance system. If you don’t have the money for the system, just hang some cameras around the outside of your house. Burglars will usually run if they see a camera.

Get an Alarm System

You can greatly reduce the odds of your home being broken into by installing an alarm system. Monitored alarm systems provide protection whether you’re at home or on the road.

However, they only provide protection if used properly. That means you need to make sure you turn the alarm on no matter if you’re at home or on the road. You also have to keep up with the monthly fee.

If you don’t have the money for a monitored alarm system, you can look at motion detectors that make noises when activated.

Now let’s look at what you need to do if you’re going out of town.

What If You’re Going out of Town?

Don’t tell the world if you’re going out of town. Don’t post Facebook status updates about your vacation, or Tweet about how happy you are to be leaving home. Chances are you don’t know all of your Facebook friends or Twitter followers, so that information could get into the wrong hands.

You also need to keep your mouth closed around your neighbors. Now, if you are good friends with a neighbor, you can certainly tell him that you’re going out of town, but don’t tell the entire neighborhood.

Next, you need to make sure your home stays maintained. Someone needs to mow the lawn if you’re going to be out of town for a long period of time.

You also need to have someone pick up your newspapers and mail. You have a couple of options for this.
One, you can have a friend or neighbor pick it up for you.

Two, you can hire a pet sitter to take care of your dog. Most pet sitters will pick up newspapers and mail. They’ll even take out the trash!

If you don’t want to ask a neighbor or hire a pet sitter, put a temporary hold on your mail and newspapers. That way, you won’t have to worry about them piling up at your house.

Finally, use timers on your lights and television sets. You can set these timers to go on during different times of the day. This will give the appearance that you’re home.

Now, let’s look at what you need to do to prepare for an intruder.

Prepare for a Potential Intruder

home defense
Even if you do everything correctly, you still might encounter an intruder. With that in mind, you need to be prepared.

That means you need to:

  • Inventory Your Belongings
  • Create a Plan
  • Get Weapons and Ammunition
  • Have a Communication Source Ready

Inventory Your Belongings

Go through your house and take pictures of your items. Include a value for each item if possible. Put the pictures in a safe spot so you can access them if your house is burglarized. At that point, you’ll use the pictures to file an insurance claim.

Create a Plan

You need to come up with a plan for your entire family. This plan should be used in case of a break-in.

You have a couple of options for creating a plan. One, you can choose to escape, or two, you can choose to wait it out inside of a safe room.


If you choose to escape, you need to come up with an escape route and destination. For instance, maybe everyone will jump out of their windows and run to the neighbor’s house or maybe everyone will gather in one room and leave from that window.

Safe Room

You might also have everyone gather in a safe room. This room should be easily accessible to everyone, and the door should have a deadbolt on it. Make sure the deadbolt isn’t easy to pick.

You might want to consider putting a peep hole on the door as well. That way, you’ll be able to see what is happening directly outside of the door.


time your familyOnce you come up with a plan, have a few practice runs. Set a date and time, but don’t tell the rest of your family. Then, when the time comes, tell your family to activate the plan.

As you do this, you need to:

  • Time Your Family
  • Check For Flaws In Your Plan

Get Weapons and Ammunition

If you are comfortable with owning a gun, you should keep one on hand in case someone breaks into your home. Just be sure to store it away from children. Also, store some clips by the gun so you can easily load it during a break-in.
Also, make sure everyone in your home is educated in gun safety. You can educate them yourself or enroll everyone in a class.

Have a Communication Source Ready

You will need to call 911 on your cell phone if an intruder comes in. With that in mind, make sure your phone is charged and accessible at all times. You might even want to get a prepaid phone and store it in your safe room.

What If There Isn’t Time?

What if an intruder wakes you up or surprises you, so you don’t have time to follow your plan? If that happens, you need to stay calm. Don’t act aggressively or lunge at the intruder. Keep your hands around your shoulders. An intruder will look at that as a sign of compliance, when in reality, it will make it easy for you to defend yourself.

If the intruder decides to attack you, you need to fight back. Aim for pressure points, or go for sensitive areas like the eyes, groin or throat.

After you have knocked him off balance, go for your weapon if possible. Then, remove his weapon if you can. Then, you can call 911.

Additional Tips

  • Secure your home. Get deadbolts for the locks and use them. Make sure the windows can’t be opened from the outside when they’re locked. You may have to buy new windows to accomplish this.
  • Secure your garage.
  • Don’t hide keys outside of your home. No matter how clever you think your hiding spot is, there is always a chance that a burglar will find it.
  • If you have a home phone, keep the ringer on low when you’re not at home.
  • Come up with creative places for your valuables. Don’t just stash extra cash in a drawer. Put it inside of an old book or do something else with it. If you put it in the normal places, there is a good chance that a burglar will find it.

Preparation is Half of the Battle

It’s amazing what you can take on when you’re prepared. With that in mind, start preparing for an intruder today. Hopefully, you will never have to deal with a break-in, but it’s a good idea to be prepared, just in case. After all, you don’t want to be stuck staring down the barrel of a gun, wishing you had done more to prevent a break-in.