Unfortunately, home burglaries happen more often than we would like to believe. While the thought of someone breaking into your home, violating your privacy, and stealing your valuables is disheartening, encountering an intruder while you are home can be far more frightening. Panic and fear may set in, but here are some helpful tips if you ever find yourself in this situation.
Stay Calm & Stay Put
This may be easier said than done, but remaining calm rather than panicking can keep you safe. First, listen very closely to the sounds which lead you to believe that someone else is in your home, whether it is the sound of breaking glass, footsteps, or shuffling around. Try to make sure that it is not another family member or a pet without charging toward them or making your presence known.
If it is, in fact, an intruder, you don’t know if they are armed or how aggressive they will be so it is best to avoid engaging and remain undetected.
Call The Police
Dial 911 immediately if you sense an intruder in your home – the emergency operator will be able to contact and dispatch police to your location. Remember to stay calm and whisper slowly and clearly so that the dispatcher can understand you and the intruder does not hear you. If you feel that you cannot talk without being heard, you can try using the Text-To-911 help function, implemented to assist the deaf and hearing impaired persons.
This is a perfect example of why you should always have a charged cell phone nearby and accessible. While burglars may be able to cut a telephone line, cell phones are wireless and cannot be compromised by the intruder. Also, resist the urge to call a friend or family member before dialing 911, and try to stay on the line until the police arrive as the dispatcher can help guide you through this emergency while you wait.
As mentioned, staying quiet is key. For the most part, burglars don’t want to linger, they want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Any sudden movements or noises can alert the intruder that someone is home. These noises may scare them away, however, a brazen burglar may take forceful action, putting you and anyone else in your home in danger. No material possession is ever worth risking your life, so try your best to stay quiet and hidden until the burglar leaves or the police arrive.
Quietly Alert Other House Members
Always call for help first before alerting others in your home. The emergency dispatcher can guide you about informing other family members or housemates. The average police response time is 10 minutes nationwide. If you can, wait for help to arrive, but if you must, alert others carefully and quietly.
If children are home, lock their doors if possible to prevent the burglar from entering their rooms. Screaming or crying children can make a burglar aware of your presence so remaining calm can help you keep the kids quiet. Creep slowly, whisper and use hand signals to communicate.
Evaluate Possible Escape Plans
You may immediately think that escaping is your only option, but it might not be the best solution. If you can, alert authorities while remaining undetected. But if you fear that this encounter may turn violent, you should seek the nearest escape route. You know your house best so think of a window or door you can use for a quick getaway. If no escape routes are easily accessible or available, try to find a safe place to hide until help arrives or the intruder leaves.
Protect Yourself If Necessary
You must do what you need to do to protect yourself and your family during a home invasion. Material possessions are not worth risking harm or fatality, so, if forced to do so, surrender your things and use any means you can to defend yourself against the attacker.