Burglary is defined as entry into a building illegally with the intent to commit a crime, especially theft. The average burglary lasts 8-12 minutes. Within the first 1-3 minutes intruders are in the master bedroom of the home because that’s where most people keep cash and valuables. The front doors and first-floor windows are the most likely entry points. Burglaries typically take place during the day between ten am and three pm when people are away.
Home invasions are burglaries of a dwelling while the residents are at home. Entry into an occupied dwelling. Intentions for this kind of crime may surpass the simple desire to steal money or electronics and can include robbery, assault, rape, and murder.
It’s easy to write these types of crimes off as being something that, “Doesn’t happen here” or “Won’t happen to me”. This kind of denial causes homeowners to be reactive, panicked, and too late when violent criminals gain access to a home via deception or force. It’s also easy and common to say things like, “If someone comes into my home I’ll just shoot them”. Statements like this show a level of willingness to defend but demonstrate ignorance of all that a home defense situation entails. Consider an educated approach to home defense that not only defends you and your family physically but legally and emotionally as well.
Have A Plan
A home defense plan is similar to having a plan in case there’s a fire. Planning ahead for such an eventuality makes responding a lot easier because everyone has a designated job and or place to go. With a little planning and practice, it can be easily executed within 1-2 minutes or less.
Before formulating a home defense plan of action first consider how to discourage criminals from selecting your home, to begin with. See my article Safe At Home for some tips on how to do this. A quick summary includes: installing quality locks with deadbolts, an alarm system to include cameras, getting a dog and keeping landscaping trimmed around entry points such as doors and first-floor windows.
Live alone or with family? Do you have friends stay over regularly? This is important information when forming a home defense plan of action. Is everyone accounted for? What will you do if someone is missing? Consider three possible situations: 1) It’s just you, you are alone 2) Family or friends are there and everyone is accounted for 3) Family or friends are there but someone is missing.
The A, B, C’s of home defense: Arm, Barricade, Communicate
Determine who the primary defender will be. This person’s job is to get some type of defensive weapon if any are available to include a gun, knife, baseball bat, pepper spray, something. Being armed with something is far better than “hoping” the police or someone will get there in time to help or “wishing” this wasn’t happening.
Safe and Responsible Storage
If you own firearms it’s your responsibility to secure them from unauthorized individuals to including children, visitors, or intruders. This means accessing a firearm can possibly be problematic or time-consuming. Get some type of secure, quick access gun safe and keep it close to or in the master bedroom. If children’s rooms are in a different part of the house having another securely stored firearm in or near that area is a good idea. For more ideas on arming yourself during a home defense situation see Rapid Home Defense Options.
The Gunvault safes are one option for secure and quick access pistol storage:
Avoidance of any violence or use of force is the goal. If the intruder doesn’t represent an immediate physical risk to you or someone you are responsible for then the use of deadly physical force (lethal force) or serious bodily injury is rarely justified for the civilian defender. Gathering the family together into one room and barricading is a smarter tactic than going to “check things out”. Once barricaded in a master bedroom or child’s room communicate with authorities and stand ready in case of intruders attempt to enter the room you are in. Just because you have a gun doesn’t mean you are required to use it, preclude all other means prior to using force.
If someone is missing move quickly to locate and secure them. This isn’t the time for pie’ing corners, it’s an emergency and a family member may be in immediate danger. Be aggressive, move with intent and if someone you are responsible for is at physical risk be prepared to be violent and use force. Consider what your current level of training and skill is. Are you ready and capable of shooting an intruder in close proximity to a loved one if justified? Do you know when you are legally justified?
Determine who the primary communicator will be. Communication is the final phase of the plan of action and includes talking to: family, authorities, and intruders. Alert family members using a predetermined code word. This way, when that codeword is used the whole family knows the seriousness of the situation and starts to act immediately.
Communicating with authorities, a few simple guidelines:
- Tell 911 your address. The dispatcher may or may not have your address from your call but make sure they do by telling them more than once.
- Tell 911 there is an intruder in your home. This makes the call a high priority for responding officers.
- Keep 911 on the line and updated about what’s going on. The dispatcher will convey this information to responding officers making their response safer and more effective.
Communicating with intruders:
- Be loud and concise. Repeat as necessary. It’s not a conversation, it’s a command!
- Tell intruders that 911 has been called, police are on the way and to GET OUT.
- Tell them you are armed and prepared to defend yourself and others.
Final Home Defense Considerations
1) Do you live alone or with family or friends you are responsible for? How will this affect or change the home defense plan of action?
2) How fast can a defensive firearm and other home defense gear be accessed and made ready?
3) Are you protecting property or personal life? In which case will using force be reasonable, necessary, and justified?