Knowing what to do during a home invasion could save your life -


Knowing what to do during a home invasion could save your life

Having your home ransacked by burglars is bad enough, but if you're home when they break in, that's even worse. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, each year more than a million people are victimized during a household burglary, or a home invasion.

Households made up of single women with children have the highest rate of burglary when someone's at home, whereas higher income households have the lowest rate of burglary the U.S. Department of Justice reports.

A home invasion cannot only be a terrifying situation, it can be traumatizing or deadly situation for the victim inside.  

Niki Laney remembers where she was when two men armed with weapons broke into her home. She immediately hid in the laundry room after the men kicked in her front door.  

"It was like this dark," Laney recalled. "I went to grab this gun at the back of the drawer."

The gun was unloaded, and she had no time to load it with bullets.

"By the time I grabbed it like this, they were in my house, and all I had time to do was just jump behind this door, and just stand here in the dark," she said.

Laney asked us not to show her face to protect her identity.

"I knew what was going on, so I jumped up, I grabbed my house phone, and ran into my washroom," she said.

Even worse, her children were asleep upstairs. Fearing for her life, she quietly dialed 911.

"If I would have jumped out, I would be afraid he would have shot me, or something else could happen and I didn't want my kids to see me do it," Laney said.

The robbers ransacked her bedroom and stole her iPhone, cash, and jewelry before leaving.

Fortunately, she nor her children were harmed.

Officer Craig Allen serves in the crime prevention unit with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Allen says all of us need to think about how to respond to a home invasion before it occurs.

A home alarm system is a good investment, but Allen says, too often, homeowners forget to turn them on!

If you hear a prowler outside at night, turn on an outside light and make some noise.

"Say–‘Hey can I help you? Honey, I'm getting the door'–anything that lets them know that someone is inside the house," Allen warned. 

Knowing someone is home can be a deterrent, but if intruders are forcing their way inside, Allen says there's only one thing you need to remember to do.

"Take evasive action. Maybe you can get out the back door if they are coming in the front," he said. "If you don't have a means of escape, plan ahead. Plan where you may go if the situation arises. Do you have a closet that has a lock on it? That makes it more difficult for someone to get into from the outside." 

Grab your house or cell phone so you can call 911.

Some homes now have 'safe' rooms. If yours doesn't, you can create one.  

It could be closet or any other interior room. Since most homes have flimsy doors that could be easily broken, consider replacing the door to your designated safe room with a solid core door, similar to a metal exterior door.

Install a deadbolt so you can lock the door once you're inside.

"You're just trying to provide another layer of protection between you and that perpetrator, and to again give extra moments for police and emergency responders to arrive," Allen said.

"So, think ahead. Plan ahead. Play the 'what if' game. If this happens to me, what am I going to do?"

This way you can react to a home invasion, instead of panicking.

"You're don't know what you'll do in that situation, and the best thing to do is not panic because panic can get you killed," Laney said.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

Additional Information:

"FBI Releases 2012 Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report." The Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"National Crime Victimization Survey: Victimization During Household Burglary." U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. September 2010.

"NCVS Victimization Analysis Tool." U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Reichert, Steve. "Avoiding & Surviving a Home Invasion."

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