Monday, March 07, 2011

Home Invasion Survival

John Vesia has a post on Surviving a Home Invasion prompted by receiving information from an alarm company. He’s asking for comments as to what readers have done to prepare for the possibility, and how to survive.

Has anyone taken measures to ward off the possibility of a home invasion? Certainly, the very thought of one should be horrifying. But what to do? Keep a bat or some other handy weapon in the closet or drawer? Is owning a gun and keeping it at home a good idea if you have young children?

We’ve posted before on it, and thought it might be helpful to remind our readers.

In our post, Anecdotal Information on Home Invasion - Use of Deadly Force we cover the following:

During my recent time with a retired police officer (see Real-life Pit Bull Encounter) was home invasion, which is defined as, "burglary of a dwelling while the residents are at home." I've had several posts on what type of response you should have, or how you should prepare for the possibility of home invasion.

As we compared notes on burglary (I don't remember why the subject came up), the gist of our conversation was that true home invasion is actually pretty rare. Most are accidental - burglaries where someone isn't supposed to be home. For example, a home is usually burglarized when the residents are known to be away, or during the day. During those times, if someone is at home, it's likely that the burglar will attempt to flee, because he's after your property, not you, and wants to get away, not hang around.

The most frequent cases of intentional home invasion may be where the invader is an acquaintance (or relative) or former partner ( or spouse) of the resident, and intends harm to said resident, usually murder, rape, or robbery. In other words, someone breaks into your home because they know you are there, and want to harm or harass you while you are present.

In any case, depending on the original intention of the home invader (burglary of an unoccupied residence, robbery of the residents, or worse), your response should be appropriate. You don’t know what the intentions are, and can’t trust that it’s not to rape, rob, or murder you and your entire family. You don’t know. Will you risk it?

Our response in the same post was:

"weapons should always be your first resort, not the last. My reasoning is that, if faced with an unknown threat, especially an intruder that is so bold as to invade an occupied home, you should assume a deadly threatto your family." My position, after assuming that all other steps are taken to make the home a hard target, and assuming the invaders probably know that you are home and are coming in anyway, you are justified in using a weapon. The commenter is correct that use of deadly force may constitute a crime if not justified. I will clarify my opinion:

  1. If you have a chance (or a choice), make sure that everyone in the home is BEHIND you and in as safe a place as possible. There are many cases in the news of inner-city shootouts that kill residents in their homes because bullets keep going until they stop. That means that you want everyone you care about behind you, if possible.
  2. Call the cops - let them know where you are, meaning your full address and WHERE YOU ARE IN THE HOUSE. Make sure you let the dispatcher know that you are armed, and give a description of your appearance. For example, "My family and I are in the second-floor bedroom furthest back. I am a five foot, nine-inch white male with a beard, and wearing a blue t-shirt and boxer shorts. I am armed with a small semi-automatic pistol." For a good example of why you want to do this, go here.
  3. Let the intruder know that you are there, armed, and that law enforcement has been called. Do this while staying on the phone so that it's recorded by the dispatcher (almost all 911 calls are recorded). Do this in a loud, clear voice.
  4. If you believe the lives of you or your family are in danger, do what you have to do.

Consult with legal authorities in your state. Is that clear enough?

There is more good information linked from Weapons first or last?, a post on whether to use weapons or empty-hand self defense skills in a home invasion. Can you guess where we come down on that?

UPDATE: Wim weighs in on the subject here.

For more information:

Be sure to read Martial Views
Crime Doctor's Home Invasion page
Equalizer saves the day
The Armed Citizen

1 comment:

John W. Zimmer said...

Hi Nathan, Don't have firearms as I was always nervous with kids in the house. What I do have is a security screen, baseball bats around the house and a bad attitude. Have a couple of dogs that would alert us.

Hopefully that would be enough. Great points on keeping loved ones behind you and alerting the cops fast.