According to statistics from the US Department of Justice, thirty percent of violent crime in 2008 occurred in the home. Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, robbers and dacoits all prey on the chance to enter your homes and wreak havoc. The point of this reminder is not to frighten you, but to ensure that you do not allow criminals to take advantage of any lack of preparedness on your part.
First and foremost, discuss all possible crime situations with your family. Decide which threats are most likely, given your neighborhood and any other factors. For instance, robbery could be common in your area, or a family member could have possible enemies owing to past jobs, lawsuits etc. in which case you would need to carefully guard your whole family. If there is ay specific threat, work on minimizing the risk of that actually happening, and if there are no specific threats, then just generally come up with ways to prevent break-ins.
The first thing to do is to take preventative measures. Install a security alarm system if possible. If not, at least install a peephole in your front door and instruct children to open the door only to known people. Install metal grilles in all your windows, so that ventilation is possible without allowing break-ins. Talk to children about the importance of locking the door carefully whenever they leave. Do not leave the house key in an obvious place such as under a doormat or over the front door frame. Also, do not give the house key to young children who can carelessly pass it to any stranger. Instruct children never to let a stranger know that they are alone in the house. When you come home to an empty house, make sure it really is empty. If you suspect that anyone is inside, do not go in, but go to a neighbor’s house and call the police. Tell your children to do the same so that they will be out of harm’s way.
Sometimes you will need to escape from the house if there is no possibility of defending yourself from an intruder. Make sure that each room has at least one exit and one good hiding place. Obvious ones like under the bed will usually just trap you in the room with the intruder, so avoid those. Escape through a window or something similar if there is no other option. Hide children or weak members of the family immediately for they can be used as hostages by the intruder.
There is usually little point trying to fight an intruder. Your best option is to go along with his demands and try to distract him so that someone can send out a distress signal or call the police. There should be a list of emergency numbers by the phone, and preferably, more that one phone set in the house. Agree on a distress signal with a neighbor if possible. For instance, hanging a certain colored cloth from a window or knocking an adjoining wall in a certain rhythm. Also, if any family members are out, make sure they stay out, again by a pre-arranged signal. For example, you could hang something over the peephole, or invert a sign hanging over the front door to indicate danger.
Finally, keep legal weapons in the house. Most effective are stun gun and pepper spray, and these can be used as a last resort if it comes to a fight. These will temporarily disorient the intruder and you can make a quick escape.
Like most survival situations, the key to home survival too lies in effective planning and preparation. You have nothing to lose by preparing, and a life or many lives to gain if the possibility prepared for becomes a reality. Start your preparation here and now so that there is no regret to face later.