10 Tips to Prevent and Deal With a Home Invasion
It’s something every South African fears – finding an intruder in your home.
It’s a frightening experience and can lead to great tragedy. But instead of living in constant fear, there are a few things you and your family could do to hopefully prevent a home invasion as well as survive one should you find yourself in this threatening situation.
PREVENTION AND ACTION
1. Live a security conscious lifestyle. Be aware of your surroundings and the various people and cars moving around in your suburb. Identify areas or things on your property that could make it easier for intruders to gain access to your home.
2. Invest in early-warning systems. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to install a pricey alarm system. Simply getting a dog is already a step in the right direction. Install motion-sensitive spotlights around your home, ensure burglar bars are securely installed and, if you have motion beams or an alarm system, that they are working properly.
3. Agree on a “safe room”. Should an intruder manage to work his/her way through your various security layers, you and your family need to have an agreed-upon room to lock yourselves in. This could be anything from a bathroom to a storage space. If you make use of security services, it’s a good idea to keep an extra panic button in this safe room. A spare cellphone that’s fully charged and has airtime is also good to have in this room.
4. Avoid using the main bedroom or study as your safe room as these are often seen by criminals as the prime spot for a safe.
5. Should you come face-to-face with an intruder, try and stay calm. The calmer you are, the less agitated the intruder will be. When asked to respond to questions, try and speak slowly and clearly and avoid making any quick movements. Ensure the intruder can see your hands at all times.
6. No television or fancy watch is worth your life. Hand over valuables and anything else the intruder asks for in a calm manner.
7. Avoid making eye contact with the intruder as this can often be seen as intimidating and it could cause the intruder to panic.
8. Don’t try and slow down the intruder. Stay out of the intruder’s way and co-operate as much as possible.
9. If you’re at all able to, make mental notes of your intruder or intruders. Try and memorise the following details which could greatly help in the police investigation:
- How many intruders did you see?
- Were they armed? Which weapons did they have?
- What were they wearing?
- Did they speak any foreign language, or have a unique accent?
- Any noticeable tattoos or scars?
- In which direction did they flee?
- Did they have a car? Did you manage to see the registration number, colour or model of the car?
10. It’s imperative to phone the police as soon as possible. If you’re unable to get hold of the police, you can also contact your local Community Policing Forum (CPF) for assistance. Make sure you have all the relevant emergency numbers on hand. This includes contact details for an ambulance, the police, your CPF and nearest hospital.
For more info on your rights when defending yourself against an intruder, click here.