Encountering a home intrusion can be a terrifying experience, especially if you’re alone or it happens late at night. It’s important to know what to do and what not to do in these situations in order to protect yourself and your family from home burglary.
Read on to learn how to deal with an intruder in your home and what steps you can take to prevent a home burglary.
What Actions Should You Take If Your Home Is Broken Into And You’re Alone?
Encountering a home invasion when you’re home alone can be a frightening experience, and it’s important to know what your legal rights are in case of a break-in. Single women living alone especially should take steps to stay safe and protect themselves. Below are some tips on what to do in a home invasion robbery when you’re at home, and how to prepare for such situations.
1. Preparation can be life-saving in the event of a home invasion
Preparing for a home invasion is crucial, as it could save your life in the event of a break-in. Although it’s natural to assume that it will never happen to you, taking security measures to make your home safe from burglaries can help prevent them.
In the US, a new home burglary occurs every 15 seconds, and burglars often head straight to the master bedroom. It’s important to have a plan in place to keep yourself and your household safe in case of a break-in.
However, it’s essential to remember that taking on the role of the hero may put your safety at risk. Violence should not be used as a method of dealing with the situation, as it can endanger you and your household. Instead, focus on preparing and planning for the worst.
2. Avoid drawing attention to yourself during a break-in
If you hear a noise and suspect that there’s a burglar or robber in your house, it’s important to remain calm and avoid drawing attention to yourself. Making yourself a target of the intruder(s) can be dangerous, especially if you’re alone.
Refrain from shouting warnings or using loud screams to alert neighbors, as this can escalate the situation. Reserve such actions for extreme, life-threatening cases where phoning the police is not possible. Your first priority should be contacting the authorities or pressing a panic button if you have a security company but forgot to set an already-existing alarm. Make sure to do so from a safe part of the house.
Note: If your house alarm fob is unavailable, consider setting off your car’s alarm.
3. Attempt to de-escalate any encounters with intruders
If you find yourself in a face-to-face encounter with intruders, it’s important to remain calm and cooperative. Place your hands up at shoulder level and promise to comply with any demands. Avoid making threats, as this can irritate burglars and lead to violence. Protecting yourself from serious injury and surviving the home invasion should be your top priority.
Keeping your arms at shoulder-height can help defend against a knife or blunt object if the intruder tries to attack. However, it’s best to avoid any physical confrontation if possible. Showing that you’re no threat can encourage the intruders to carry out their robbery quickly and leave you unharmed.
4. Attempt to escape outside as soon as it’s safe to do so
If you’re not in direct danger during a home invasion, your first priority should be to call the police and make sure the call takes place out of earshot from the intruders. Most home intruders will carry out their robbery within 10 minutes, so it’s important to keep yourself hidden and remain calm during this time. If possible, try to escape outside as soon as it’s safe to do so. Once you’re outside, seek help from neighbors or passersby and wait for the police to arrive.
5. Find a secure room to hide in
If escaping isn’t possible, finding a safe room to hide in can be a good option. A locked bedroom, closet, or en-suite bathroom can provide protection even if your voice is heard. Barricade the locked door using any heavy objects at your disposal. Once you’ve contacted the police, provide a clear and detailed description of your situation, and if available, show any video surveillance footage recorded by your security camera.
If you’re on the ground floor, consider climbing out of a window with your phone and contacting the police from there.
6. Call 911 and wait for the arrival of the police
Once you’re safely inside the safe room, call 911 for help and follow the dispatcher’s instructions. Stay on the line and remain inside the safe room until the police arrive. Wait for confirmation from the dispatcher that it’s safe to leave the room, as silence outside the door doesn’t necessarily mean the intruders have left.
When talking to the dispatcher, provide your address and describe your situation in detail. Be prepared to stay on the line, especially if the crime is ongoing. Even if you believe the intruder is gone, it’s safest to wait outside your home until the police arrive.
7. Notify others quietly and remain silent
When hiding or locked in a room, it’s important to stay as quiet as possible to avoid alerting the intruder to your presence. If you live with others but they aren’t with you, use a quiet method to alert them to the situation without drawing attention to yourself. You can use text messages or a prearranged signal to communicate discreetly and let them know what’s happening. Avoid making noise that could put you or others in danger.
Actions to take when an intruder breaks into your home and you possess a gun
When someone breaks into your house and you have a gun, it’s important to understand the laws regarding the use of firearms in your state.
Although it’s not legal to shoot someone just because they enter your property, homeowners have the legal right to use reasonable force to prevent a crime. If someone intrudes your house and starts a robbery, they are committing a crime. While it is legal to shoot someone breaking into your house, we do not recommend doing so unless you have received professional training in using firearms.
Depending on the circumstances, using a gun may not stop a home invasion or save your life. It’s important to prioritize your safety and seek help from the authorities if possible.
Strategies For Dealing With Home Intruders When You’re Not At Home
Dealing with home intruders when you’re not at home can be a difficult situation to navigate. Returning home to find signs of a break-in can be shocking and distressing. However, if you’re not home during the break-in, you can prioritize your safety and take steps to protect yourself and your home.
Home burglary statistics show that most thieves avoid face-to-face confrontation with homeowners and tend to target empty houses.
If someone breaks into your house when you’re away, use your home security system to stay connected and call the police immediately. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your house if possible. Your home security cameras can also record the criminal act, which can be used as evidence to help catch the intruder.
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What actions can I take if someone is breaking into my house?
If someone is breaking into your house, it’s important to prioritize your safety by finding a secure hiding place. Call 911 immediately to report the break-in, providing your location and any information about the intruders. Stay as quiet as possible to avoid alerting the intruder to your presence. Do not confront the intruder, as your belongings are not worth risking your safety. Wait for the police to arrive, and follow their instructions to ensure a safe resolution to the situation.
During what time of night do most break-ins occur?
The majority of break-ins tend to occur during the daytime, particularly between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm when many people are away from home at work or school. However, break-ins can and do happen at night, with a significant portion occurring between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am.
Is it legal to shoot someone who breaks into my house?
It’s not legal to shoot someone simply for entering your property. However, laws regarding shooting intruders typically allow homeowners to use reasonable force to prevent a crime.
During a home invasion, your top priority should be to protect your own safety. While the security of your property is important, it should be secondary to your personal well-being. By taking effective countermeasures and installing functional cameras, you can help prevent home invasions and minimize their impact.