Lately the local news seems to be highlighting stories about high-profile incidents of home invasions almost nightly. The impact extends well beyond the invasion itself to sometimes almost deadly violence. The victim’s sense of safety in the home no longer exists after such a crime, which is a long-term loss that is irreplaceable in comparison to the items that were taken.
A home invasion is generally thought to be different from a break and enter for it is a premeditated confrontation with the intent to rob or inflict violence upon the occupants of the home. There are different methods that are used to gain entry in a typical home invasion that you should be aware of.
A perpetrator may use deception as their way to get into someone’s home. This type of invasion usually takes place during the day or early evening. The home invader approaches the front door and pretends to be someone needing assistance such as wanting to use the phone, or go to the bathroom, etc. They may say they are doing a survey, have a delivery for you to sign for, or may tell you they have run into your car if you have one outside. There are countless reasonable sounding excuses that can be used to get someone to open their door and once that occurs, they smash their way into the home.
A simple use of force to gain entry in the home. The home invader approaches a doorway and proceeds to kick the door in. A solid kick aimed just below or above the doorknob will often break open most doors, even those with a deadbolt installed.
A more frequent approach is when it starts out as a breaking and entering. They use a lock pick or pry bar to defeat a door or window lock, then slip into the house and surprise the homeowner in another room. This method can take place at any point day or night.
In order to protect yourself from this type of crime, there are many precautions that you can take.
If you own an alarm system, make a conscience point to set it both while you are home and away from the house. Most alarms will have a setting just for the entryways and windows so when a door or window is forced opened the alarm will go off and alert either the police or alarm company. Also, make a point of having a panic button installed in the master bedroom in the event if you do forget to set the alarm, you can press the panic button if someone gains access into your home.
Criminals look for opportunities that require the least effort, so by making your home more secure, you can make it less tempting. Make sure that both your front and back doors are made of solid wood or metal and install one-way peepholes at eye level. Reinforce all doorframes so that your doors cannot be easily kicked in.
Keep all your doors and windows locked even when you and/or your family members are at home. Cover all your windows and glass doors with a special security film, or install Plexiglass on the inside. These materials are quite durable and can withstand several blows before they break. Take the time to prune or remove trees and shrubs that hide your windows and doors from view or give criminals convenient places to hide.
Make use of outside lights for criminals prefer to work in the dark. Leave lights on at night for both the front and back of your home. Also, make sure these outside lights are out of reach so they cannot be broken or removed. Motion sensor lights can be installed as well to save on electricity costs.
If you live alone, take care not to advertise the fact. You can easily make your home appear as though many people living in it by putting out toys or work boots in the yard. Keep a cordless or cellular phone handy in case you need help or spot something suspicious outside. Additionally, you can get a dog or place a BEWARE of DOG sign in the yard.
For apartment buildings or gated communities where there is an intercom at the front door, take special care when it comes to whom you buzz in. The rule of thumb is to never let anyone in the building unless you know exactly who they are. If they do not have a key or an access card, then they do not belong. If they insist on you letting them in, simply refer them to the manager of the building or call the police.
If there is a knock at the door, always check to see who it is before you answer. Respond to the person so they know someone is home. But, DO NOT open the door to anyone you do not know. If it is a repair person or such, ask for identification and a telephone number that you can call to verify the person’s status. If you are alone, make a point of pretending there are other people in the house by calling out someone’s name and keep your radio or television on. Most importantly, if you see any suspicious persons, activities, or vehicles in your area, do not be hesitate to call 911.
Hopefully, you are never a victim of this crime, however being aware of the dangers and taking simple measures can go a long way in protecting your home and family.
Everyone from Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency would like to wish you and your family a very safe and Happy Holiday!!!
Here at Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency our goal is to try to help our viewers by outlining potential exposures and suggest solutions for all insurance needs.