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 Terrorized In Your Home!
 
How To Protect Yourself From This Growing Crime
 

Growing in frequency across the country are home invasions. In the brazen crimes, invaders target individuals using brute force and the element of surprise. It is all to often those home invasions will involve crimes other than robbery as the sole motive. Assault, armed robbery, rape or even murder can result as yet another motive that is either planned or becomes a spontaneous act.

 

While home invasions are similar to burglary, the latter usually is a crime committed solely with theft in mind and is usually perpetrated by single individual that prefers to enter with as low a profile as possible. Home invaders usually involve two or more participants and attempt to use speed and strength to overwhelm and surprise their victims inside their own homes.

 

Are you being watched? If you fit the profile of a victim, you could draw attention to yourself in a number of ways. Do you project an image of wealth or discuss valuables that you possess with a number of acquaintances? Are you a single woman who lives alone?  Do you follow a regular daily routine?  Is your phone number listed? Have you had any visitors to your door asking for directions or appearing to sell door-to-door? 

 

As with other crimes, the idea is to minimize your chances of being an easy victim. Below are some tips to consider based on your ability or willingness to pay for deterrents for you and your home.

 

Getting Started

 

Everyone cannot afford to go out and spend several hundred dollars at one time. However, you can’t afford to do nothing. These basics will add some degree of protection:

 

*Don’t hide keys to your home outside…anywhere.

 

*Never have your physical address attached to your keys should you lose them.

 

*Install dead bolt locks. Properly installed, a dead bolt with at least a 1-inch bolt adds pretty good protection to existing doors.

 

* Many newer residential windows have more secure features, however windows should be secured from being opened from the outside. Since windows are often elevated off the ground, they may not be the first choice of a home invader looking for fast entry. Key locks are available. Many people with double-hung windows, pin the upper and lower frame with a nail or screw. Consider, however, in the event of a fire how you can quickly and safely open these windows if need be.  

 

* Make sure all the lights work outside your home and leave them on. If you do not have floodlights mounted high around your home, do consider adding these first. Light is one of the best deterrents in many cases.

 

*Cut the shrubs and plant bushes around your home that are prickly. A house that has shrubbery up to the windows provides cover for any criminal.

 

*Consider any type of noisy detectors or alarms if you can’t afford to have a professionally installed alarm just yet. These can be window alarms or door alarms. These are especially important for your home if you have fans or air conditioners running all night that can mask the sound of a potential intruder. Discount retail stores or home supply stores, such as Lowes or Home Depot are good places to look.

 

*Buy one or two alarm signs for your yard. Even if you do not have an elaborate system, a visible sign may be a good deterrent. Even a “Beware of Dog” sign could be a nice touch.

 

*Vary your interior lighting at night. A criminal may study your routine and may wait until he thinks you’ve gone to bed. Make it difficult for an invader to size you up.

 

*Avoid answering the door for strangers when it is not secure to do so and make sure valuables are not visible. Criminals have been known to scope out neighborhoods during the day for a victim and then return later on. 

 

*Have a safe room. Even if you do not have a lot of money to invest, consider beefing up the locks on an interior room. This way, if ever someone tries to enter your residence, you and your family can flee to this room. Make sure you have a telephone in the room and having your cell phone handy is always a plus. Don’t hesitate to place 9-1-1 on speed dial if it will help. 

 

 

Pay More. Get More.

 

*Have a professional install an alarm system in your home.

 

*Buy a dog. It’s an investment in time and money, but a dog is a proven deterrent…even small dogs.

 

*Have reinforced, solid-core doors (steel or hardwood) installed at every entry point to your home with heavy-duty strike plates.

 

*If you live in a high crime area, you may want to look at grates or grilles over your windows, especially at street level.

 

*Controversial as it can be, consider a gun for self-defense and take a certified course on how to use it in an extreme situation. 

 

*Have an area light (like those mounted on utility poles) installed near your house, if there is not one present.

 

When the sun goes down, you can feel more secure in your home with proper planning. No one expects a home invasion, but every person should consider their safety and be ready to react when a faced with being a victim of a violent crime.