Statistics say that more than 2 million burglaries happen in the United States every year. Most of these unauthorized intrusion crimes occur in residential homes. With this fact in mind, your home may not always be the safe sanctuary you expect it to be.
You can take precautionary measures such as locking your doors and windows, installing security equipped devices, and maintaining well-lit yards to prevent trespassing incidents. But what if, despite those measures, an intruder is in your home?
Here are a few common sense pointers that can help.
1. STAY CALM.
If you wake up in the middle of the night and hear strange sounds at home, try not to panic. Remain where you are and stay calm. Staying calm is very important as it helps you think clearly.
Maintain a strong presence of mind. Listen to the sounds carefully. Identify what and where those sounds are coming from. Determine if those are footsteps, pet movements (if you have one), breaking doors or windows, dragging of objects or murmuring by unidentified people.
2. BE STILL AND KEEP QUIET.
Once you confirm that it really is an intruder, do not make any sound. Remain quiet. You wouldn’t want to call out their attention or confront the intruder because you will put your life at risk. Most of the time, intruders react violently and tend to be combative.
3. CALL THE POLICE.
Police hotline numbers should be on your contact list if 911 is not available in your area. Call them immediately. State your name and exact location. Give landmarks as much as possible. Tell them in detail what is happening so that they will be prepared to respond to the situation. Listen to their instructions carefully.
4. LOOK FOR A WEAPON.
While waiting for the police to arrive, look around your surroundings. Find a weapon that you can use if the situation gets worse. Do you have gun handy? If not, look for hard objects such as a bat, lamp, vase, statue or bust. You can also look for sharp objects such as scissors or a screwdriver. If you are near the kitchen and can go there safely, you may quickly grab a knife and a pot.
If you have a gun, make sure to use it wisely and only when it becomes really necessary. (Familiarize yourself with the laws of your state or country on possession of firearms and shooting intruders at home.)
5. FIND A SAFE SPOT TO HIDE.
Can you escape from your house safely? If you can, then go out as fast as you can. If it is dangerous to escape because you are far from any exit, find a safe spot where you can hide while waiting for the police.
Your bedroom is the most common safe spot in the house. Make sure that your room is locked. It is recommended by experts that you put yourself strategically in the corner of the room on the same side as the door. This way, you can immediately see the intruder if they enter but you won’t be in their direct line of sight.
Hopefully, it won’t be long until help arrives. It normally takes 10-15 minutes for the police to reach your home.