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Four Tips to Defend Your Home

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After a neighbor’s home was broken into recently, we thought it would be helpful to remind our readers of some quick tips to keeping your house secure. Even if you believe you live in a safe neighborhood, criminals can still strike your home when you least expect it.  Use the layers of security below to prepare yourself to defend your home.

MENTAL PREPAREDNESS
Often times when a house is broken into, those inside the house do not know how to react appropriately.  Some folks will simply freeze, while others will rush into a situation without a plan on what to do.  A good first step is to realize your home can be broken into.  Accepting that as fact, take a walk around your home and think of all the ways an intruder could enter your home and how you could respond depending on the entry point into your home. Develop a plan with your family so they know how to protect themselves, and determine a call word so they know when to implement your plan.

HOME PREPARATION
Once you have familiarized yourself with how an intruder can enter your home, take the steps now to stop them.  The easiest counter-measure you can take is to turn on your outside lights.  Lighting the outside of your home allows your neighbors or a passer-by to see someone creeping around your yard. Next, make sure you can secure any entry points into your home, particularly windows and doors.

If your budget allows, consider replacing your exterior doors with a solid core door with a deadbolt.  Consider adding a burglar alarm, or at least, fake stickers or yard posts that indicate you have an alarm.  You may also consider converting a bedroom into a “safe room,” where your family can retreat safely. Safe rooms are designed to either significantly delay an intruder long enough for authorities to arrive, or in more elaborate designs with concrete walls, steel doors, ventilation systems, and food supplies, several days. One easy upgrade is to replace your flimsy bedroom door with a solid core door with a deadbolt, which is more difficult to kick down compared to a standard, hollow, bedroom door. Consider updating your windows as well, particularly to a model that cannot be easily shattered.  The only limits when constructing your safe room are imagination and cost.

CALL 911
Be sure to keep a charged cell phone in your bedroom or safe room to call 911.  Most cell phones today are able to call 911 without any service from a wireless provider, so you may want to keep an old cell phone that you no longer use around to serve as a backup.  Be clear to the 911 operator that someone is in your home right now, and the situation is urgent.  Besides giving the operator you address, provide the operator as many details about your house as you can, including your location within your house.  If it is reasonable to do so, change into clothing that will make it easier for you to escape out of a window and run away.

USE OF FORCE
Should an intruder in your home make it into your safe room before police arrive, you will need to decide what level of force to use to protect yourself. Some intruders can be defeated easily by pepper spray.  Other intruders may only be deterred by firearm.  Well before you ever defend yourself with a firearm, you need to mentally prepare yourself with the possibility of ending another person’s life.  You will also need to know what is behind the intruder should you miss, such as a child.  Or, your bullet could go outside your home and strike an innocent bystander.

Besides taking these steps to prepare you home from intruders, I will leave you two extremely easy tips that may have kept my neighbor from being burglarized.  First, never post your plans on Facebook that would let someone know exactly when you will be outside of your home.  Secondly, lock your door even when you are home, especially if you are taking a nap.  My neighbor’s father-in-law was most likely napping in the bedroom while someone was in the house, and he had failed to lock the front door prior to resting his head.  He is lucky the burglars only took possessions and not his life.

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