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Posted on

One of the times we feel most comfortable is in the middle of the night, asleep in our pajamas in the comfort of our own homes—or is that the time when we feel most vulnerable?

Home invaders take advantage of us when we’re in this state of slumber and at other times of weakness—such as when we first pull into our driveway in the dark and exit our vehicles, or when we answer the door for a stranger.

Here are 18 things you can do to either help prevent, or help during, a home invasion:

1. Install driveway annunciators.  Let them know that you mean business before they even get close to your house.  These devices can announce a prerecorded message when someone walks in proximity to them.  Often times, people place them at the end of their driveways or near their vehicles.

2. Install motion sensor lighting.  We just can’t blog about this enough.  But when it comes to keeping home invaders out, it’s a great tool.

3. Keep the bushes cut low in proximity to your house.  Don’t give them any help in their endeavors to hide.  It’s fine to have decorative shrubbery, just be sure to keep it trimmed.

4. Install noticeable security cameras.  This can be a great deterrent, although some will say that cameras may indicate that you have things of value inside to come after.

5. Prominently display your security company’s stickers and signs.  This goes without saying.  Let them know what they’re about to walk into.  This is just another step of many in making other houses around you that may not have security systems more enticing to home invaders.

6. Fortify your doors.  Have solid core doors and heavy-duty deadbolts with at least a 1-inch throw (the bolt that comes out of the lock).  Add locks at the top and bottom of the patio slider door and add screws into the track above the sliding door frame to prevent it from being compromised.  Consult a locksmith about these issues.  And of course a piece of wood or a rod in the floor track to prevent the door from being opened if the lock is destroyed is a good idea.  There is usually not a sure-fire way to completely keep a home invader from getting in through a slider, but if you can make it very difficult, he may give up or it may allow you enough time to realize what’s going on and call 911. 

7. Keep your shades shut beginning at dusk.   Burglars and home invaders can take inventory of electronics that are turned on at this time which may make it worth it for them to enter.

8. Don’t answer the door.  You are not obligated to answer your door.  This may seem like a harsh step to some, but you can talk to the visitor from a second floor window if you’d like.  Or have a peep hole installed and talk through the door.

9. Don’t spend any extra time when you get out of your vehicle.  As referred to in the open, you are vulnerable when you exit your vehicle, in the dark especially, after you’ve pulled into your driveway.  Be aware.  Move quickly.  If you use mace, or a whistle, have it ready.

10. Try not to advertise too ostentatiously.  If you choose to wear a great deal of jewelry when you’re out and drive expensive cars, that’s ok, just know that it’s possible you could be followed home.

11. Keep a wireless transmitter or “panic” button next to your bed.  Have your security company add a wireless transmitter, or fob, that allows you to arm and disarm you system remotely.  But these can also have a button which transmits directly to the police—a “panic” button.  Just be sure to keep it away from children and to not hit it by mistake.

12. Know the panic code on your keypad.  Most security keypads will have a short code to type in that transmits directly to the police in case you can’t get to your phone quickly enough.  Having a second keypad, usually on a second floor, is ideal.

13. Of course, lock everything. And don’t forget the garage, bulkhead, and cellar windows.

14. Have a family plan.  Know exactly what room to meet in (create a “safe” room with a cell phone in it and a fortified door), or the quickest doors to exit from, as well as where to meet outside.  Know where your cell phones are, where any weapons are kept and other essentials.

15. Remember the ambush code on your keypad.  If you are taken hostage outside of your home, after you’ve gotten out of your vehicle for instance, and you are brought to your keypad to disarm your system against your will, know your ambush code.  It will look like you’re entering a PIN to disarm, but you’re actually sending a panic code directly to the police.

16. A dog or two is never a bad idea.  The louder the better.  This goes without saying.

17. Keep some “non-traditional” security items near your bed.  A strobe light will both startle an intruder and cause neighbors to give a second look.  An air horn will also alert neighbors and may cause an invader to jump back a bit.  And if you have a car alarm fob which you can make your car’s horn beep with, press that to make noise also. 

18. Have 911 set on speed dial of your phone and cell phone.  And, use speakerphone so the operator can hear what’s going on.  Keep it near your bed as well.

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