Home invasions are real. Maybe it hasn’t happened to you, but it has to many thousands of homeowners around the USA, and world. This is a fact.
Invasions happen for many different reasons but luckily there are many ways to prepare and defend your home from violence and property loss caused by intruders.
If you are budget constrained, no worries. There are plenty of effective ways you can fortify your home on the cheap.
Home is one of the safest places to stay, or “bug in” in the midst of civil unrest or one-off criminals looking to rob and steal.
During these times, help from authorities may be entire out of reach, or at best delayed, leaving the safety of the whole family in your hands. Prepare for potential threats, now!
Home invasion is no small crime. This happens in the one place you should truly be safe in this world. Your home is your castle and if that sanctity is broken, you won’t feel safe anywhere.
Let’s look at the facts, absorb the data and figure out how most home invasions occur and the simple ways to defeat them.
Home Invasion Statistics
- Every 12 seconds a home is invaded by going right through the front or back door –
- Women or senior citizens, who are home alone are prime targets for the criminals that carry out home invasions. – Source: FBI
- 38% of assaults occur in the home during an invasion.
- 60% of rapes occur in the home during an invasion. – Source: United States Department of Justice.
Location plays a major role in keeping your family safe when civil unrest breaks out. Rural places will receive the least devastating effect while the urban households stand in the line of fire.
In the wake of civil unrest, looters and intruders will likely target wealthy neighborhoods, gentrified subdivisions, and financial districts near large cities first. Possible early victims include those living in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, Denver’s Highlands, and Brooklyn.
Know the possible epicenters of a riot. Examples of disturbance-hungry places during massive civil unrest include universities, college campuses, public libraries, historical buildings, and government establishments.
Remember that these rioters will target symbols of power and wealth. They will ruin expensive cars, high-end restaurants, luxury hotels, and lavish condominiums.
Preppers must maintain a low profile. Do not give other people the impression that you belong to the upper class. Avoid wearing expensive clothes, avoid living in high-end villages, avoid eating in fancy restaurants, and avoid driving luxury cars.
When you hear reports from media coverage that civil unrest breaks out, get out of the city and move somewhere else with your family. Consider moving in your parents’ or relatives’ house in rural areas and start barricading the place.
Understand Home Invasion Strategies
- Knocking or Ringing the doorbell – Someone knocks on your door and you open it. Once you open your door to them, the perpetrator(s) smash their way into the home. This type of invasion usually takes place during the day or early evening.
- Deception – Someone knocks on your door, pretending to be a delivery man, utility worker, injured person, lost person or other seemingly non-threatening person and you open it. Once you open your door they try to talk their way into the home or the perpetrator(s) smash their way into the home.
- Forced Entry – The home invader approaches a doorway and kicks or bashes the door in. A solid, well-placed kick, aimed just below or above the doorknob, will often break open most doors, even doors with a dead-bolt installed!
- Breaking and entering – The assailant uses a crowbar, screwdriver, lock pick, hammer or rock to defeat a door or window lock, then slips into the house and surprises the homeowner in another room.
Intruders will use your compassion against you. They will pretend to be injured, that they have an injured child, or were involved in an accident and need some form of medical help. Tell them you will call 911 and report this.
DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR, talk through the door. If they are telling the truth, it won’t matter if you let them in or not. Once you call 911 help will be on the way, and your front stoop is a great place for them to wait.
Most civil disorders happen in small areas, and if you stay out of it, you will be safe. But if the civil unrest expands and encircles your neighborhood, you may need to fortify your home’s defenses.
If your gate and fence appear fortified, invaders may try to find weak points around your home perimeter to get through. Those who own a house with a fence can start doing some work at the perimeter of their property.
Make sure to install the fence deep in the ground with concrete. The gate should also match the strength of your fences. Moreover, pick a kind of material that won’t get cut easily by bolt cutters.
Many strategic reasons exist as to why you should surround your property with a fence. They include:
- Fences serve as a mental and physical barrier. They slow the process of invasion, buying you time to take action. Invaders will assume it’s more difficult to invade your house if it is protected by a fence.
- It lessens the chance of escape. Thinking that they can’t escape easily as they don’t know everything inside the property, looters will likely target a different house.
- When barbed wire, spikes, or glass are planted on or along your fence perimeter, they can cause injury or death to the invader, making them easier to deal with, thus buying time to take action and get help. You can conceal the edged or pointed surfaces with plants or bushes, turning them into a simple booby trap. Planting thorny plants behind the fences also boosts the defense.
- Transparent, or semi transparent fences strip away places for intruders to hide, also buying you time to take action and retrieve your firearm, and get your family somewhere safe.
Bad wolves can easily blow down a house built with straws and wood. Also, such walls can’t protect your family from stray bullets. The windows need fortification as well. Before civil unrest happens, upgrade to concrete walls, sturdier doors, and highly secured windows.
As most concrete and brick walls seem hard to penetrate, you can focus on your door and window security. You can choose in many different ways to burglar-proof your doors and windows.
All of the doors in your house should be kick-proof. A group of organized invaders can bring it down with a forceful kick, but your door should at least buy some time to get to a safe room or secure area, and for you to take further action.
Most construction-grade consumer doors aren’t really designed to withstand brute force. They are designed to look pretty and to be cheap, so the contractors and home builders can save money. We all know that cheap doesn’t mean top-notch quality.
Use solid wood or a solid wood core. Fiberglass makes a great choice as well. If you choose a metal door to invest in one with interior reinforcement and lock block. This prevents thieves from bending it open with a crowbar or a car jack.
Replace all the screws on your hinges and door frame latch plate with longer screws. The screws that are installed by default are usually 1/2″ – 3/4″ long. Get some 3 or 4-inch screws so they will reach into the wood framing around the door frame itself. When you start replacing the screws on the hinges, only take out and replace one screw at a time, so you don’t have to rehang your door.
Beef up your door frame with added support, adding some door reinforcement can only add to your defense. There are also door braces, that can be wedged under your doorknob, or door barricades to add another layer of door defense.
An additional Security Storm Door would be another physical barrier to reduce the chance of invasion.
Every prepper must remember that the strength of a door is as equal as its lock. If you go for a metal door, you need locks as sturdy as the material you chose for your door.
Double deadbolts and double cylinder locks are highly recommended to shield your family from an infiltration during civil unrest.
Windows invite a lot of bad elements including home invaders. You should not forget blocking this vulnerable part of your home.
Luckily, there are plenty of window defense options for you to choose from.
Not to mention the obvious, but keep your windows closed and locked. Put a dowel rod in the track of your sliding glass door to prevent it from being opened if the lock is bypassed.
If you don’t know the person or don’t trust the person at the door, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. Talk through the door.
If the person is legit, they won’t mind you verifying.
Sure, you can put bars over your windows, but typically that’s not desired, unless you live in an are that necessitates it. Window bars can make an emergency escape via the windows an impossibility, so consider carefully before using them.
Get a Peephole
The simple act of using your peephole and NOT OPENING THE DOOR just defeated the first two methods of home invasion entries. That was pretty simple, wasn’t it? Don’t feel bad about talking through your door, it may go against what you consider normal, but it is 100% acceptable, and I’ve had it done to me. I understand and I respect it!
There is no rule that says you must open your door when someone knocks or rings the bell. Use the peephole, every time.
If your door doesn’t have a peephole, buy one. You can install a typical peephole with nothing more than a 1/2″ drill bit, a drill, a large slotted screwdriver, and a peephole. It will take you less than 10 minutes (on average).
Bonus tip: Make Threatening Noises
If you want to make the person on the other side of the door think twice about trying to get in your home, have a stereo, boom box or loud mp3 player with some dog growling or barking sounds.
You can find “dog barking sounds” on internet searches or can buy a pretty threatening dog growling mp3 from Amazon. Yes, you can also find a barking dog and just record it on a cassette tape, if you must, just do it somehow!
There have been some pretty great technologies that have come out that address this vulnerability. Window security film can be applied to windows and patio doors and changes the glass breaking game quite a bit.
In addition to Window security film, there are many other window security options, so there has to be one that will work the way you desire.
In your yard, you can make use of decoys and warning signs to discourage attackers. Other mental barriers work so consider using them when civil unrest strikes in your area. Just make sure you do it right as messing up could lead to a disadvantage.
Fortunately, you can use these beware of dog signs even if you don’t own one.
Apart from a sign, you can place a dog house somewhere in your yard where outsiders can clearly see. Add a huge food bowl and a huge bone to give them a picture of a giant canine ready to sink its teeth on a home raider’s face.
But in a famine infested place, a huge dog makes a good meal for survivors. If the civil disorder lasted for a very long time, this tactic may backfire.
You need your firearm close, but you must have it secured in a gun safe of some sort. The safe is not optional at all, it is 100% mandatory!
Get yourself a quick access biometric pistol safe or gun safe. If you have to punch in a code or dial a combination, you will be all thumbs when your adrenaline kicks in.
Mount or secure this safe near your bed, so you can grab your items and head to protect your family! In this safe have:
- Pistol, shotgun or rifle
- A dependable flashlight.
Keep your cellphone close when you sleep. Some pistol safes, like the GunBox, have USB ports to charge your phone, allowing you to keep those items close!
When you secure yourself in your safe room, you should have your family members, a gun, a flashlight, and a cellphone!
Most people won’t think of owning a great flashlight until they get stuck in a scenario when they needed one.
Tactical flashlights do not only serve as an alternative to the absence of room lighting, but they also function as effective tactical weapons.
Although they seem harmless, many tactical flashlights for self-defense nowadays can deal great damage to attackers.
Some of these tactical lights showcase other features such as the stun gun and a hidden survivalist knife. Some are also engineered as a mace you can swing around to use to hit your opponents.
Tactical flashlights also work great with guns and knives. These flashlights can shower disorienting beams with the strength of up to 500 lumens.
When the opponent is shocked by the discombobulating light, it gives you plenty of time to follow it up with a free attack.
Shotguns and rifles as home defense guns may pack higher muzzle velocity and stopping power, but they are also more unwieldy and can over-penetrate As long as you practice with them, handguns are great home defense tools.
Choose lightweight handguns you can easily hide in a safe place. Consider buying a handgun silencer to not attract other outsiders.
Equip each family member with a handy knife so that they can defend themselves if the situation arises for it. Apart from self-defense, such knives serve different purposes such as a tool for preparing food, cutting some objects, and more.
When it all goes down to close combat, this survivalist knife can pretty much save your life. You can hide it in your pocket or in a secret holster and use the element of surprise to gain an advantage over your attacker.
A prepper must play dirty if he needs to. After all, the safety of your family depends on the home defense tactics you implement. If you don’t feel confident about decoys and firing a gun, use your wife or kids’ craftiness and ask them to help you out with setting traps.
As mentioned above, these spiked wars work effectively if strategically placed in different areas of your property such as behind walls. You can also lay this trap near the trees where invaders can’t see them.
When laying traps, make sure that invaders won’t notice them. You can place these beds of nails if the most unsuspecting places of your lawn and house.
Fire is a major threat to home defenders during civil unrest or a natural disaster. If the efforts of invaders are thwarted or frustrated, they may resort to setting your house on fire out of spite and anger from not being able to enter.
The driving mindset maybe, roughly, “If we can have it, neither can you”.
Always keep fire extinguishers in different parts of the household. Make sure they work and that you instructed everyone on how to use it.
Want to know another preventative measure when it comes to fire, equally important to purchasing fire extinguishers? Clean up your s**t!
Remove and hide flammable materials from the exterior and any points of entry to a concealed location, or away from your home.
If you can’t afford a bunker, a safe room will do just fine. Somewhere in your home, choose an ideal area to set it up.
Disguise plays a huge factor in a successful safe room as it serves as one of your family’s last resort.
You can hide the safe room in your library behind the bookshelves, in the basement with the passage concealed by a carpet, or in the master’s bedroom at the back of the closet.
Vast mirrors, portraits, wallpapers, and wall decors can perfectly obscure your safe room.
What is a Safe Room?
People will tell you that you need a special steel security door, a reinforced, heavy-duty door frame and multiple deadbolts on it. In a dedicated safe room, you would have a weapon secured in a gun safe with a flashlight and a cellphone.
Let’s be realistic. We’re lucky if our kids have their own rooms, most of us do not have a room that we can turn into a veritable fortress.
A safe room can be any room, but it should be a room with only one entrance, and in a perfect world, it would be the very last room that a criminal would get to while coming through your house. This isn’t always the case.
A safe room is a room with a single entrance, where you chose to or have been forced to make your stand. They should be bullet and fireproof, and nearly impossible to enter. Think of a safe room as safe for you and your family.
Purpose of a Safe Room?
You remain calm and wait for the police or for the threat to leave. Keep the call with 911 going, so they can hear what’s happening, and to let you know when police have arrived and are in your home to secure you and your family.
Do not attempt to find and meet the invaders. Stay secure in your safe room. Don’t worry about your stuff. You can get new stuff. Your life and the life and safety of your family and loved ones is all that matters!
If you hear the bad guys outside the door or trying to open the door, announce very loudly: “Do not enter. I have a weapon!”
- A blast-proof, kick-proof, and soundproof door with double deadbolts.
- A phone and charger you can use to contact others for help.
- Emergency food, canned goods, and other food packages that will last for over a month.
- A secret passage to escape in case of detection or fire.
- A tactical flashlight, a firearm, and other self-defense weapons in case the intruders found the hidden safe room.
- Proper ventilation and lighting
- First aid kit and medicine
- Clothes, towels, and blankets
- A computer where you can monitor the rest of the house through hidden CCTV cameras.
A safe room does not need to be fancy. But for your family’s comfort during civil unrest, you can start building it little by little.
Multiple Adult Household
If there is another parent, guardian, or even a teenager or child, who has leadership abilities, have them escort the children into your designated safe room, where that person will immediately call 911 for help!
You may continue to man your chokepoint or retreat into the safe room, where the door should be locked. Everyone should be in the safest spot, out of the line of fire, in case you need to engage villains attempting to access your shelter.
You will be in a prone or kneeling position with your eyes and weapon lock on the door, while the 2nd adult is communicating with the 911 emergency operator.
Single Adult Households
If there is no second guardian, proceed into your oldest or most matures children’s room and wake them and have them get all the kids into one child’s room. If you are confident that you can make it safely to your safe room, proceed.
If you have any doubts, and I mean ANY doubts, about getting safely to the safe room, do not change it. The children’s room has just become your immediate “safe room”.
You will be in a prone or kneeling position with your eyes and weapon lock on the door. Hopefully one of the children can dial 911, but if not, keep your eyes on the door and dial 911, quickly and put it on speaker so you can set down the phone.
Home Invasion Drills
Your family needs to practice this drill. Make sure you’ve run through it. Remember it’s a drill, no need to be swinging around a weapon, just pretend.
While you’re at it, have a few fire drills. You’ve been pretty lax on those too!
Security Gadgets and Technology
We won’t dive far into the many different security technology options that exist, or how to install them since those are subjects for separate in-depth entries.
The point we want to make here is to invest in something that helps alert you to danger in advance of its appearance. Technology can aid greatly in providing another set of eyes and ears.
Another way to defend against home invasion or to prepare for it is to know who is around your property.
There are network cameras, security camera systems and perimeter/driveway alarms that can help address this and add a layer of visibility. Keep vegetation trimmed so bad guys don’t have a place to hide or a place to work on breaking in while remaining hidden.
Set up and turn on some type of high or low tech alarm at all times, day and night. We set ours even when we are home, so if someone breaks in, the alarm is triggered.
We know someone is in the house, they know we know, and the monitoring company will dispatch the police. Be sure to still call 911, even if you are confident that your alarm company will send help.
Make sure that the outside of your home is well lit. Installing motion lights can also be a great deterrent, and I highly recommend some super-bright spotlight type motion lights. You can also get solar powered motion lights for those areas where you can’t run electricity.
Home invasions are a scary crime and could be life-threatening. We do know that you can prevent many of them by simply not opening the door for untrusted or unknown people. Take some basic precautions and use your head to defend against home invasions!