Dealing With a Home Intruder

There are lots of things you can do to make your home less vulnerable to burglars and other intruders – from installing door peep-holes and safety chains to fitting sophisticated alarm systems. But what should you do if they fail and your home is invaded while you’re there, or if you return to find an intruder on your property?

In this report, we are neither advocating nor opposing gun ownership but we will say this: 80 percent of burglars don’t carry guns. If you choose to own one, make sure you know and comply with the law, that you get professional training on how to use it, and that it is kept securely out of others’ reach, especially children.

What we want to talk about are other actions you might be able to take to protect yourself during a home invasion. The important thing is to know and plan now, while you’re safe, how to react. Impulse could be your enemy in a real-life situation. Panic could result in injury or even death.

Naturally, the circumstances of the incident will dictate your precise response. But here are some actions to consider:

  • When you arrive home, always visually check the outside of your house for signs of intrusion. If the door is open or lights are on when the house should be unoccupied, don’t go in.
  • When you do enter what should be an unoccupied home, make a noise when entering and then stop for a few seconds to listen.
  • If you know or suspect someone is in your home and have the chance before they confront you, dial 911. Speak slowly and quietly, giving your name and address. Don’t shout or stay on the line.
  • Again, if you have not been confronted and can exit the house from the room you are in – for instance if you’re just in the entry way or have sliding patio doors – do so, but beware of lookouts outside.
  • Alternatively, if the intruder has not appeared and you have called 911, secure the doors to your room if you can.
  • In a confrontation, avoid violent or threatening behavior. Don’t even try to reason. Comply with requests and do not attempt either to withhold information or conceal property.
  • Don’t struggle if you’re being tied up. Tense muscles during the process, which will loosen the bonds when you relax.
  • If the intruders make no attempt to conceal their identity, your life may be in danger and you may have to consider a more desperate response. Using distraction and your better knowledge of the home, or killing lights and power, may buy you time.

Note: These types of incidents are extremely rare and our ideas are for information purposes only. They are not intended as professional advice. Speak to your local Police Department if you want further guidance

Home Inspections: Not Just for Buyers

When buying a home, ordering up a property inspection is just plain commonsense. But that’s not the only time you should consider calling in a professional to check out the condition and safety of buildings and
equipment.

For instance, if you plan to sell a home, calling in a professional who can pinpoint any structural problems or present you with a clean bill of health for your house could save you both time and money. How? If any problems are identified, you’re fully in control of how and when they are put right. And offering your potential purchasers a copy of a positive inspection report could speed up the process and reduce the risk of last-minute hitches with the sale.

Even if you’re not buying or selling, a professional home inspection can be useful in helping you maintain a structurally safe home, ensure pipework and duct work is intact, and provide early warning of issues that fixing will save you money in the long run.

April is National Home Inspection Month. To learn more or find a home inspector, check out the American Society of Home Inspectors website at www.ashi.org