In our first installment, we discussed creating an action plan. Now we will talk about planning ahead in the event we are faced with an intruder.
Hopefully, your plan of action, coupled with dialing 911, has discouraged any home invader. By now, the invader has fled, leaving you and your loved ones unharmed, although probably a little rattled. Not all home invasions turn out like that, and sadly, we do not live in a make-believe world full of puppies and snowflakes. Reality can equal danger. The reality of encountering a full-blown home invasion, by thugs who can cause you great harm or even kill you, is nothing to take lightly.
Each and every home invasion scenario is different. The bad guys’ pedigree varies greatly, plus the “loot” the criminals are in search of is vast. The different potential factors make it difficult—if not impossible—to give you an exact, step-by-step, home invasion to-do list.
However, you can prepare yourself by thinking ahead and asking yourself some questions.
We all have a flight or fight instinct within us.
- Do you stay and fight?
- Do you try to get away or set off the alarm?
- Do you go for your gun?
- Will you be paralyzed with fear and incapable of doing either?
The truth is none of us really know how we would react to a situation unless we already have encountered one. As difficult as it is to imagine going through this situation, experts suggest you do just that.
Just as you would practice for a fire or tornado, you should practice an invasion drill that includes what to do when face to face with criminals. Again, the scenarios are too many to cover, and here are some of the basic things you may encounter:
- What would you do if someone busts down the door while your spouse/kids are upstairs?
- What would you do if you walk in on a burglary in progress?
- How would you respond if multiple family members were in the home?
When face to face with criminals, experts advise remaining calm as your best option—if you plan to make it out alive. They also recommend a quick assessment of the situation, done in a way that does not put you in a more dangerous situation. For example:
- Does the invader seem high on drugs or intoxicated?
- Does the invader act like he knows what he’s doing (professional), or is he a sloppy, nervous thief?
- Is he as scared as you?
- Does he want to get items and get out quickly, or is he comfortable and taking his time?
- Is there more than one person?
- Is he using a weapon?
- Is the invader after one specific thing, such as electronics, cash or jewelry?
While you are assessing the situation, remember not to make eye contact. Most thieves know the danger of being identified. Also, unless you are highly trained with a specific set of skills and can channel your inner Texas Ranger, do not confront them.
- Can you make a quick escape if they get distracted?
- If so, where will you run?
- Should you stand your ground and fight?
Again, unless you have close-quarter combat training, experts do not recommend confronting the invaders.
Now is the time to start thinking about what to do, how to answer some of these questions and how you would react to those answers. In the end, your life is far more valuable than personal property. It is important to remind everyone there is no one-size-fits-all perfect plan; every situation is different, and even the best-laid plans can fail.