Basic Home Defense: How to Improve Your Home Safety and Peace of Mind
By: Trevor Thrasher, Senior Instructor & COO
Home safety is always one of our customer’s top concerns, and for good reason. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are approximately 3.7 million burglaries a year, 1 million with a household member present, and 250,000 assaults that occur related to these break ins. Those are some serious numbers. On any given week, it is not uncommon to hear of local news stories involving theft, assaults and home invasions.
When we look at any defensive situation, we use a term called “concentric rings of safety” to describe the various layers of defense we can put up to deter evil doers. The inner most ring is your lifestyle layer of defense. You are many more times likely to suffer a home invasion if you involve yourself with criminal people and criminal enterprises.
A large portion of invasions occur due to involvement or even expected involvement in the drug trade or other illegal activity. Secondarily, criminals target business owners and other people whom they believe may have a significant amount of valuable goods in their home. Even if neither of these apply, you can still be a victim of random crime.
Basic Home Safety Defense Mistakes:
If you were to come home and notice something amiss or out of place—an open door, a curtain moved, a broken window, an odd item laying in the yard—what would you do? Your first instinct is going to be to run in and see who is in your house, but that’s a mistake. Even if loved ones are home you should take a breath, keep some distance, then either call 911 or call your loved one inside. Rushing in will most likely just create more victims and in the end, may only make matters worse for everyone involved.
The doorbell rings
What is your first instinct again? It shouldn’t be get to the door and open it quickly. Do not open the door for strangers! Make sure your kids do not open the door for strangers. If you read the newspaper articles about home invasions you will most often see a phrase similar to “forced their way in.” Most often, this is just a nice way to say that someone simply opened the door and let the invader come right in. Knocking on the door is usually either the start of a ruse (asking for water, asking to borrow the phone, selling an item) or a method used to check if the home is occupied. Again, take a breath, see who is there first, gather more information or start a discussion from a position of safety, then make a conscious decision to open the door if you feel the need.
Avoiding the lifestyle mistake and the “open the door to the wolves” mistake will take care of the vast majority of issues, but the bad guys may still try to make their way in. With just a little effort, you can make your home less attractive to criminals.
How to Improve Your Home Safety
Look at your lighting, landscaping, and fencing. Do these things make it easy to approach you home and attempt a break in while unseen? If so, change them. Next, look at your doors and windows. Could you breach the door with a few kicks? Could you simply break out a small pane of glass and undo a lock and walk or crawl in? If so, fix it. Main doors into a house and at least one other door leading to a “safe room” should be hardened to a significant degree. The simplest way to do a home security assessment is to think like a criminal and war game how you would break into your own home. If it is glaringly easy, then it’s a safe bet a criminal will target your home first.
What if a criminal is breaking in and you discover it before they are actually in your home? Again, our instincts might work against us. A lot of people will run and hide, put themselves in a corner and hope for the best. That may work, but 90% of criminals will flee if they know someone is home and hear this phrase I first heard from Larry Yatch of Sealed Mindset, “Stop, I’m armed, the police are coming.” You may not have a gun, but you certainly have some type of defensive instrument in the house. If the bad guys keep coming after that, then they are after more than your flat screen TV.
88 Tactical Group
These recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. In our Basic Home Defense course, we cover everything from:
- hardening the home
- how to deal with people at your door
- developing a family emergency response plan
- constructing a safe room
- dealing with a break in
- how to deal with an armed criminal already in your home
We don’t just talk about it, we make you do it, and we prove to you that a little training and preparation can go a long way toward improving your home safety and peace of mind. In the meantime, avoid the big mistakes and make yourself a harder target.