Home is the place where you feel the safest.
But intruders can shatter that sense of security and terrorize your family.
Here are the steps you should take to defend your home.
According to the Department of Justice, there are roughly 3.7 million home invasions every year, and about one in three happen when somebody is home.
So over 1 million people will face an invader in a given year.
Also, two out of five assaults and three out of five rapes occur during a break-in, so the stakes are incredibly high.
These are four steps you can take to be ready for a terrifying home invasion.
First, designate a safe room in your house.
During emergencies, it’s easy to panic and either run toward danger, or freeze and completely shut down.
Preparation is the best way to fight the danger of panic.
If it’s within your budget, a panic room would be a strong investment.
If a panic room with impenetrable walls and a tamper-proof phone line isn’t an option, or the invaders are in between you and your panic room, you’ll need a backup plan.
Crime statistics show that the top targets for home invaders are the master bedroom, home office, living room, and dining room.
Guest bedrooms and basements with firearms and supplies make for good safe rooms because they’re less likely to be hit by an intruder.
Next, call the police.
As soon as you’ve made it to your safe room, call the cops and leave the line open.
Plenty can go wrong before the cops show up—fewer than one in three emergency calls get a police response within five minutes—but if you’re properly armed in your safe room, you have a better chance of giving the cops enough time to show up to your location.
Third, issue a stern warning.
If invaders try to breach your safe room, let them know that you’re armed and you’ve called the police.
Sometimes a stern verbal warning and the sound of racking a shotgun is enough to scare off an intruder.
Most robbers don’t want to risk their lives, so they’ll leave when confronted.
For that reason, a lot of break-ins occur during the day when there’s an expectation that people are at work.
Some intruders might incorrectly assume nobody is home, so a warning will scare off the ones who don’t want a violent confrontation.
Finally, be prepared to defend yourself.
Sometimes the use of force—or at least the direct threat of force—is inevitable.
Some intruders are incredibly violent and won’t be shied away by the threat of confrontation.
That’s why weapons exist in the first place.
But it’s not always ideal because confrontation is also incredibly dangerous.
Also, homeowners lawfully exercising self-defense must still go through a stressful legal process, and in some absurd cases, they can be sued by the home invaders or criminally prosecuted.
In case force is needed, be sure all of your licenses are in order, and make sure you know your local firearm laws.
Authorities, particularly in areas with strict gun control laws, won’t necessarily be sympathetic if you violate gun laws even in defense of your family.
Make sure to have easy access to safely secured weapons in various locations throughout your house.
If all of your firearms are in one gun safe and you’re on the opposite side of the house with intruders in your way, you might as well not have any firearms at all.
Following these steps will give you the best chance of being prepared for a frightful home invasion and perhaps give you some peace of mind.