Home Burglary: What would you do?

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Some friends of ours had a chilling encounter in early December. My friend had arrived home at just past nine at night to find a burglar in his house ransacking his home office! Being unarmed and with no weapons inside, there were less than 10 seconds to make a decision what to do. It is very hard to know how your body will react to the instant adrenaline rush to such an incident, and his instinct was to shout out at the robber. The burglar was started and ran off making away with tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry, electronics, and cash. My friend was plagued for weeks about the instant decision he made and regretted not grabbing a kitchen knife or blunt object and coming up on the robber from behind, or slipping outside quietly and dialing 911 while the burglar was unaware.

Meanwhile he has since installed an alarm system and purchased four guns now that he keeps inside the home (they don’t have kids) and he plans on being more prepared if their home should suffer an invasion again in the future. It is reports like this that people should be more proactive about discouraging a home invasion and take steps to make it “less likely” your home will be broken into in the future. As most law enforcement will tell you: You can’t break in proof your home, you can only deter would be burglars by making it more difficult. A criminal will usually take the path of least resistance, meaning they will choose a home that does not have an alarm system, does not have a dog and does not have a light on or motion light. Though this isn’t 100% guaranteed it is a pretty good measure to reduce the chances that your home will be broken into.

An alarm system is one of the most common means of protection and works well for people who spend long periods away from the home, a nice medium sized dog (doesn’t have to be a giant mastiff, but a chihuahua offers little protection from a burglar) acts as a deterrent two ways. The first is that the dog barks and it can alert neighbors to something potentially going on in the house, the second is that the dog itself might inflict a leg or hand wound on the burglar and these are usually enough to deter most common break ins.

Having motion sensitive lights also can startle a burglar as most criminals avoid being seen and target places that are poorly lit or completely dark. In addition having visible security camera’s mounted on the outside of front and back doorways show the criminal that they are being taped and can be a deterrent as well. Wireless camera systems that record to the internet and let you check your home while you are away are cheaper than ever now, I used to use one back in my Mesa home several years ago.

Owning a gun is a good way to protect yourself and your home but is only valuable if you are actually at home during a break in, also you need to make sure the gun is well hidden and only you can retrieve it or you might actually arm an unarmed burglar if he finds it and steals it. If you choose this route, I would invest in a safe or lockbox that allows only thumb print analysis and allows quick access to the weapon for only the owner and a spouse if you have one. If you have children in the house you must make extra sure that you are careful not to allow or enable them to have access to it by any means, don’t assume they won’t find it if they don’t know about it. Kids are snoops and when parents are away, they will explore all closets, crevices and corners of the house eventually.

Above all, if you encounter a burglar in your home and are unarmed, then call the authorities right away before you do anything. Only put your life at risk if it is a matter of defending yourself or your family who would be in jeopardy, remember all material items stolen are just material items and not worth your life.

-Justin Germino

Updated: January 8, 2010 — 11:20 pm