Home Invasions…”I don’t like ’em, they’re scary!” That’s what my wife said when I was talking to her about possible article topics. But really, that is how you should feel about the topic, too. Home Invasions are one of the fastest growing crimes and are become somewhat of a trend among career criminals.
What is a Home Invasion?
A Home Invasion is much like a burglary…only much worse!! It is a forcible or unwanted entrance into your home while you or a family member is present. They are usually accompanied by any number of additional crimes and often go on for several days before deciding to leave. Consider the following statistics regarding home invasions:
3,600,000 – Home invasions each year between 1994 and 2000.
8,000+ – Home invasions in North America each day.
38% of assaults occur during home invasion.
60% of rapes occur during home invasion.
1 in 5 homes will experience a home invasion or break in.
Home invasions are one of the most dangerous crimes, often resulting in violence against the victims. Violent crimes in general have steadily increased for more than 20 years. According to the Bureau of Justice statistics on violent crimes, you have a 126% chance of being a victim of violent crime. So do your children. This does mean that some people will be victims multiple times while others will not, but how do you take steps to ensure that you are in the right group?
Many people think that a security system will protect them from violent crimes within their homes. I can tell you, as a Military Police Officer and Sheriff’s Deputy, there is little chance that law enforcement will respond quickly enough to stop a crime from occurring. The average response time for a 911 call is 26 minutes. While sad, there is a very high frequency of false 911 calls, and so officers rarely race to get there. Most agencies have policies against speeding to get to a 911 call, even when violence is being reported.
Others claim that their martial arts training will protect them. Sadly, this is woefully inadequate in most real world encounters. Are you prepared for multiple attackers taking you by surprise at night when many still have difficulty clearing their mind enough to respond appropriately? This does not even consider the fact that most of these violent encounters involve weapons on the part of the attackers.
But the most popular response to protecting your home from violent crime is having a gun readily available and being trained to use it. I’m an advocate of the second amendment and strongly encourage anyone who can own a gun to do so and learn how to effectively use it. But is having a gun enough?
Home invasions are fast paced and chaotic. You won’t know if there’s one attacker or many. Depending on the layout of your home, you may leave your family vulnerable by unknowingly allowing an attacker to bypass you while you clear other areas of your home. There is a high probability that you may find the attacker between you and your family, even if they are on the other side of a wall, restricting your ability to shoot due to the threat of over-penetration.
If you have a family, your home defensive plan probably looks something like this: We are alerted to a threat, your wife (spouse) gathers the children and calls the police while holding a firearm as a last defense, in case something should happen to you. You grab your handgun or shotgun, and begin clearing your home to ensure that there is no threat.
Now let me ask you a question: With you by yourself, are you really prepared to take on several attackers with weapons of their own? Please put away the bravado for a second and, for the sake of your family, really think this one through. Are you willing to rest the safety of your wife (spouse) and children on your ability to single-handedly clear your home if there are actually multiple attackers present?
Think about that long and hard, because if it ever happens to you — and the chances are increasingly greater that it will — you do not want to make the wrong decision here.
Here is another question to think about: if a special operations team were going to enter your home and clear it, would they send one guy, or a team? Can an individual highly trained operator conduct this task at peak performance alone? Unless you are one of these few men, then soberly consider your own limitations and what failure means to your loved ones.
Family Protection: When You’re Gone
Let’s pretend that you are Rambo, capable of taking on vast hordes of Vietcong, zombies, and home invaders with ease. You have millions of rounds of ammunition, several strategically placed mini-guns and you even decided to set up some claymores under your porch; just in case. No one is getting into your home and harming your family on your watch…
But what about when you aren’t there? “I will always be there,” you reply with confidence. Really? You don’t go to work? You don’t travel for your job? You don’t take overnight hunting or fishing trips with the boys? Will you really always be there?
What about when your wife takes a trip to the mall alone in the evening.(delete) Some dear friends of ours just had a terrible experience where the wife was kidnapped in a car, driven around for several hours, and then dumped back off at the mall. Terrible situations like this happen. Are you sure they will never happen to you?
How can you, as a loving protector, ensure that your family will be safe in your absence? The real answer is that you can never fully ensure it, but you can certainly take steps that give you and yours a much increased level of protection.
Dynamics of a Home Invasion
In the military, when we were planning for operations, one of the most important questions to answer before determining a course of action for our mission was the enemy course of action. We would lay out their most likely course of action (what we thought they would actually do) and their most dangerous course of action (what could they best do to defeat our efforts?). Before we get too deeply into the things that you can do to protect yourself and your family in the event of a home invasion, let’s discuss for a moment what a home invasion actually looks like and how they are successfully carried out.
MOST LIKELY COURSE OF ACTION
The most frequent method used by gangs and other small groups is to approach a house and have one member approach the door.
The others in the group (usually 3-5 guys) will hide nearby to quickly get in the door, but will try to remain out of sight from the resident answering the door. When the first member reaches the door, he first checks the door to see if its unlocked, and if so, they will push their way in quickly, usually taking the family members by surprise. If they find it locked, they will usually ring the doorbell. As soon as the door is unlocked, they open it as forcibly as possible, usually knocking the person answering the door on the ground and get inside the house as quickly as possible. Once inside the house, they try to use threat of force to quiet and restrain the family members. From that point on, everyone in the house is extremely vulnerable and bad things happen.
MOST DANGEROUS COURSE OF ACTION
You leave the door open and/or the home invaders use violent force as an initial means of entry. If this occurs, all occupants should stop at nothing to resist and fight. This is usually an indication that they will eventually cause serious harm and even death to all occupants of the home.
Tactical Application in Home Defense
In my next article, we will begin to get into some of the specific things that you can actually do for home invasion defense.
For now, it would be a good idea to try to evaluate and work through your house and family vulnerabilities. If you have time list them out. If you have specific questions, list them in the comments of this article. I will try to address each through this series of articles…