One of the most frightening and dangerous crimes that can occur to a family is a home invasion robbery. Home invasions are when the robbers or attackers use forced entry to gain access to an occupied home, apartment, hotel room, or trailer to commit robbery or other crimes.
Home invasions as well as car jacking are on the rise. This is an especially scary trend because both crimes violate a persons private space and the places that we believe to be our sanctuary.
Why are the prevalence of these crimes on the rise? The fact is that small businesses like convenience stores and fast food establishments have upgraded their security. They can afford to setup high tech surveillance systems, hire guards or policemen, and with time lock safes they have limited the amount of cash available to criminals.
As a result, the criminals are now focused on residential crimes because homes are a much easier target. As much as we want to believe that our homes are safe, the fact is they are rarely as safe as we think!
The Profile of a Criminal
Residential burglars work mostly during the day and when a residence is more likely to be unoccupied. Most burglars work alone and tend to probe a neighborhood looking for the right residence and the right opportunity. Alarm signs and decals, bars on windows, strong locks and doors, big dogs, and alert neighbors can sometimes deter burglars. Also, burglars will avoid a confrontation and will usually flee when approached. Most burglaries do not result in violence unless the criminal is cornered and uses force to escape.
Home invasion robbers, in contrast, work more often at night and on weekends when homes are more likely to be occupied. The home invader will sometimes target the resident as well as the dwelling. The selection process may include a woman living alone, a wealthy senior citizen or a known drug dealer, for example. It is not unheard of for a robber to follow you home based on the value of the car you are driving or the jewelry you are wearing. Some home invaders might have been in your home before as a delivery person, installer or repair vendor. Home robbers rarely work alone and rely on an overwhelming physical confrontation to gain initial control and instill fear in you. The greatest violence usually occurs during the initial sixty seconds of the confrontation and home invaders often come prepared with handcuffs, rope, duct tape, and firearms. Some in-home robbers appear to enjoy the intimidation, domination, and violence and some even claim it’s a "rush."
Home invaders know that they won't have to overcome alarm systems when the home is occupied or be worried about video cameras and silent alarms. Unlike robbing a retail store, home invaders expect privacy once inside your home and won’t have to deal with the police suddenly driving up or customers walking in. Once the offenders take control of a residence they can force the occupants to open safes, locate hidden valuables, supply keys to the family car, and PIN numbers to their ATM cards. Home invaders will try to increase their escape time by disabling the phones and sometimes will leave their victims bound or incapacitated. It is not unheard of for robbers to load up the victim’s car with valuables and drive away without anyone in the neighborhood taking notice.
Home invaders will sometimes use a ruse or impersonation to get you to open the door. They have been known to pretend to be delivering a package, flowers or lie about an accident like hitting your parked car. Once the door is opened for them, the home invaders will use an explosive amount of force and threats to gain control of the home and produce fear in the victims. Once the occupants are under control the robbers will begin to collect your valuables.
Some home robbers have been known to spend hours ransacking a residence while the homeowners are bound nearby watching in terror. Some robbers have been known to eat meals, watch TV, or even take a nap. A major fear is that the robbers might commit more violence like sexual assault or even murder. Some robbers have kidnapped and forced a victim to withdraw cash from their ATM machine or take them to their small business to rob it as well.
The same tactics used to prevent daytime burglaries will go a long way to preventing forced entry home robberies. If you can delay a home invader at the point of entry then you have a chance of deterring them or have time to call the police. A solid core door, strong locks with reinforced strike plates, and reinforced window devices will stop most forced entries. In addition home alarms are a burglars worst enemy, because it catches them by surprise and exposes their presence with ear piercing alarms. Some of the most popular and inexpensive home security alarms are door stop alarms, window alarms, barking dog alarms, and auto dialer alarms.
Other self defense weapons to consider are pepper spray and stun guns. Pepper spray is extremely effective at stopping would be attackers and the price is very affordable. Stun guns are easy to operate and come in models that are disguised as cell phones, pens, or a blackberry. This gives you a tactical advantage and the element of surprise.
Remember these important security steps:
* Install solid core doors, heavy duty locks, and window security devices
* Lock all doors, windows, and garages at all times
* Use four three-inch screws to secure heavy duty lock strike plates in the door frame
* Use the door peephole BEFORE opening the door
* Use your porch light to help you to see clearly outside
* Never rely on a chain-latch as a barrier to partially open the door
* Never open the door to strangers or solicitors
* Call the police if the stranger acts suspicious
* Alert your neighbors to suspicious solicitors
* Hold a family meeting to discuss home security plans
* Set the home perimeter alarm at night, if you have one