Part 2: What to do if you are home during a burglary
In our previous post, we talked about the prevalence of home burglaries in the US – with a burglary happening every 15.4 seconds. Most of these burglaries occur during the day when people are away at work or school.
However, there are times when homes are invaded and a family member or the entire family is home. Alternatively, you may come home while a burglary is in progress. While these circumstances are rare, it is still important to discuss these scenarios with your family and have a plan of action. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to handle this type of situation. Most people don’t know how they will react until they are actually thrust into a personal crisis situation.
With your family, much like a fire escape route, develop a home invasion plan that includes a safe room to meet, such as an interior room or closet. Be sure to keep a flashlight and a spare cell phone in the designated safe place, so someone has the ability to call 911. When moving to the safe room, don’t tiptoe or run around the house. Instead move quickly and efficiently to the designated area. If any family member has an opportunity to easily escape and run for help, they should take it. Make sure everyone knows where to go, who to contact and what to say. As part of your preparation, children should be trained to dial 911, activate a home alarm/panic button, or flee to a neighbor’s home to summon the police.
For the most part, there are generally three ways a person can react to a burglary or robbery:
Resist the assault
If you plan on resisting the assault, be prepared to act quickly and look for a quick escape. If you plan on fighting, be prepared to use force and look for a quick escape. You should concentrate your strikes to the eyes, nose and throat and don’t stick around. While the assailant is stunned, use that opening to flee the situation. Taking a self-defense class and practicing specific techniques will allow this response to become second-nature.
Comply with all demands
Depending on your physical and mental ability, complying with all demands may be your best option. The downside is this route may prolong the situation. The upside is personal belongings can be replaced while your life cannot.
Stay calm and wait – then resist, comply or flee as the situation evolves
If you are level-headed and can think clearly during the situation, it may serve you well to use this method. Always keep your options open and be keenly aware of your surroundings. You may give the appearance of compliance and then suddenly see an opening to resist or flee.
A few other major DON’Ts…
- Never pull a weapon on an assailant who already has a gun trained on you
- If you have a choice, don’t agree to be transported to another location, such as an ATM or other location
- If you have a choice, don’t agree to be tied-up, handcuffed or placed in a trunk
- Never follow an intruder once they leave your home