What You Can Do to Prepare Against a Home Intruder Scenario
Ok, first some basics: while you cannot make your home impregnable, you can make it more difficult for someone to force their way in which gives you time to prepare to repel them or call the police (or both).
- Deterrents: Posting signs Beware of Dog or Neighborhood Watch or Alarm or Surveillance Cameras on premises can discourage burglars even if you don’t have any of those things. You can also use some ruses to discourage burglars. Installing surveillance cameras (or even fake ones with the dark globe so a potential burglar cannot determine where the camera might be pointed) might discourage a burglar. Note that a surveillance camera is a great tool for the police to catch someone after the fact but unless you have a control station and are monitoring the cameras in real time – they don’t provide you with any early warning.
- Exterior motion detector lighting to cover areas not otherwise easily seen. If he was relying on getting up to the outside of your house without being seen, the effect of suddenly being spot lighted may spook your intruder and make him leave.
- Alarms on windows and doors. Most alarms trigger when the door or window is opened, but you will have to check if they also work if the window is broken. An alarm system gives you some warning so you can react and in addition, it may startle the intruder and he may then run away.
- Your exterior doors should be solid core construction (not hollow) so they cannot be punched through. While windows or portals in the front door are decorative, they make the door easier to break through. If your door has a peep hole, remember to turn off the light in the entry way so putting your eye to the peep hole does not telegraph to the person outside that you are at the door.
- Fortify doors: exterior doors should have a deadbolt on each exterior door (make sure you use longer screws to anchor them, such a 2.5” screws. This makes it harder for an intruder to kick through your door or otherwise break it down. Also note that many key operated dead bolts can be “bumped” without the key. Surprisingly if someone is experienced at bumping the lock, they can do it in under a minute. You should look at deadbolts that are bump-proof or better yet electronic keypads. You should also consider a door stop at the bottom of the door such as https://www.amazon.com/Tenby-Easy-Step-Stops-4-Inch-Nickel/dp/B00VAQT8AG/ref=sr_1_10?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1536135341&sr=1-10&keywords=door+stopper. The idea is to make it difficult to break through the door, a determined attacker will be able to defeat the door with time. The more time it takes, the more time you have to prepare yourself before the intruder gets inside.
- Windows: you can add a film that makes it much harder to shatter glass such as https://www.amazon.com/Protection-Security-ShatterGARD-BurglarGARD-Burglars/dp/B008MZMSA0/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1536135650&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=windows+mylar+film. Your other option is to put bars on the windows but just remember that these also prevent your egress in an emergency. At a minimum – look at a film that acts like a one way mirror and prevents would be burglars from peering in through your windows to see what stuff you have.
Ok, those are things you can do to make it harder for someone to get in your house. But a determined attacker can still get in, it just takes them more time and usually that they are making more noise doing so (which gives you more time to call the police and prepare to defend yourself).
- I strongly recommend that you get a dog. Lapdogs are easy to take care of and usually are very territorial (they go crazy whenever anyone enters the house distracting the burglar if not scaring him off and giving you plenty of warning that someone is trying to or has entered the house). Studies have shown that dogs are the biggest deterrents for burglars. Of course a larger dog can be trained to be a protection dog but they require more care. Regardless: You should get a dog.
- Fortify your master bedroom (make it a panic room) – you would install an exterior solid core door in this room and then reinforce it with a deadbolt and a door stopper. You need to have a plan where your children move to the master bedroom in an emergency.
- Emergency gear in every bedroom: Everyone in my home has the following equipment on the night stand next to their bed.
For Fires: a smoke mask, a flashlight*, a fire extinguisher, and mylar blanket. https://www.prepper-skills.com/blogs/Fire_Safety_at_Home
For Defense: mace / pepper spray, a baseball bat, a taser -
Note the Asterisk on the flashlight: get you a flashlight that either has a taser or sharp prongs or glass breakers at the front – shine the light in your attacker’s eyes and punch. Activating the taser makes a very loud noise that may scare away an attacker but punch it at him too.
You can also use the fire extinguisher as a defensive weapon – spray them in the face and then punch.
- Weapons: this is a big step if you have never owned a weapon before but you do not want to bring a baseball bat to a gun fight – don’t give an intruder the advantage of them having a gun and you don’t.
Choice of weapons: we are talking about a handgun versus a shotgun. A shotgun is an excellent home defense weapon as the pellets from the round spread out and you are more likely to hit your target. Additionally the rounds will not usually penetrate walls and unintendedly hit persons in other rooms. Disadvantage – harder to handle… this can be overcome by training with the weapon.
Handguns: I would say these are preferred as you can carry them with you on your person where ever you are in the house and therefore you are always ready to react. https://www.prepper-skills.com/blogs/Firearms_for_Women_-_Part_1. My suggestion for you would be to look at the Ruger LCP .380 caliber but there are many models to choose from. The Ruger LCP is a very compact and easy to conceal weapon that fits easily in your purse or a waist holster. It is also very difficult to have a misfire – it is double action and there is no exposed hammer. I also recommend you get a crimson trace laser aim point. Once installed, it puts a red dot on whatever you point the weapon at. https://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Trace-LG-431-Laserguard-Pistols/dp/B001FT8I2M/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1536140035&sr=1-4&keywords=crimson+trace+ruger+LCP Go to your local gun dealer and ask some questions, heft some guns in your hand and possibly even test fire some guns. See what feels good for you.
Note – look at your weapon as a system. You need a way to carry it and deploy it. This means holsters or slings, magazines, magazine holders, etc. Don’t just think you buy the gun and 50 rounds and you are done. Now let’s talk about other things you need to do or know to protect your home.
- Training: whatever mix of weapons you chose to get, you need to get some training in using them. If you are going to use a baseball bat, you need to know what that is going to feel like when you hit someone. Going to a local martial arts gym and training is a good choice for your own personal confidence and even for your kids. For a gun, even more so – you don’t want to make a mistake when you use a gun so if you are going to get a gun, in addition to some gun safety classes, you need to go to the range periodically (I would recommend at least weekly at first and then monthly once you get more comfortable) and practice shooting. You might be able to find a gun club that has move out ranges so you can shoot from behind cover and then move (and practice reload). Amateurs train until they get it right, professionals train until they can’t get it wrong.
- Legal issues: (Note I wrote this article for someone living in Virginia. You need to check what the rules are in your state). As of this time, Virginia does not require a permit to purchase a firearm. You do not have register your firearm. You only need proof of age and citizenship to purchase. Virginia is a “shall” issue Conceal and Carry Permit (CCW) but they may require a safety class. Open Carry is permitted but there are some exceptions. You can have a loaded gun in your vehicle but it has to be in a container (like the glove box), the container does not need to be locked (note this only applies to Open Carry – if you have a CCW, you can have the firearm on your person). You do NOT have to inform a police officer that you have a gun in the vehicle (this is for Virginia, it may be different in your state).
- Use of Force: Virginia is a “stand your ground” state. You are not required to retreat (attempt to escape) if you have a reasonable belief that there is an imminent overt act of unlawful force, serious bodily harm or death against you or others (such as family members). Virginia has a version of a “Castle” law which basically reaffirms your right to defend yourself in the same circumstances as a stand your ground permits. See https://www.tmwilsonlaw.com/criminal-law/self-defense or https://statelaws.findlaw.com/virginia-law/virginia-self-defense-laws.html Let me encourage you to contact a lawyer immediately if you find that you had to use force.
Last note on use of any weapons (and basically almost everything in your house can be made into a weapon in an emergency) – you have to be the Momma Bear / Lioness! You are protecting your children and you have to be ready and willing to do EVERYTHING to save them. Of course you want to call 9-1-1 to get the police to respond but before they arrive, you are the only thing between your children and some stranger – don’t be shy about hurting that person if you feel they are threatening you or your family. Get angry. If they have violated your home, then you need to fight them off. Tooth and nail….
That’s the 13 Preps you can do for Home Intrusion.
De Oppresso Liber