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10 Rules to Prevent Home Invasions

by George Wehby   |  November 29th, 2011 76

We have a natural sense of safety and security in our homes. We go out into a chaotic, hostile and sometimes violent world looking forward to our return to sanctuary in our personalized space. Home invasion is probably one of the most deeply traumatic crimes. The thought of someone tearing through our belongings, keepsakes and valued items like they were trash is terrifying.

The home invasion can be placed in two basic categories: burglary and robbery. The Burglary is a home invasion where no victim is a witness to the crime. In other words, you are not home or you do not realize that you are being burglarized, until after the crime is over. The home invasion robbery is the more scary of the two, because you are directly involved in the crime as an assault victim, not just your property. The latter is a stories of horror movie game, and usually the first thing we think about when we broach the topic. The following rules should help prevent either of the two. Keep in mind these rules are in no particular order of importance.

Did I miss any? What are some of your rules?

  • Ben_OBrien

    Great tips. Can't think of much more I'd include.

    • Mike

      He did not mention to cut away any large bushes or shrubs near your windows. Makes good cover for bad guys to hide behind while jimmying a window.

      • Don Myers

        Good idea.

      • Soldier4hire

        Mike rethink cutting those bushes, replace them with THORNY bushes, bad guys hate them. they are a pain to move through. It keeps them from using those windows to break in.Combine these bushes with Solar powered motion activated lights and you increase your chances of protection.

    • Dark Patriot

      Not me. I watched The Jetsons cartoon when I was a kid. I loved the robot dog. An IR toy came out on the market 10 years ago. Sound activated with LOTS of room inside to mount controls, sensors, and compressed air micro- machine guns. With extreme care one can shoot ammo that will burn any carbon based target. I just added the burning laser. Time to paint the walls white.

  • Tom Deriemaecker

    Place dowel sticks into the tracks of doorwalls and sliding windows, do not utilize ide-lights (glass panels) alongside your doors (these can be smashed and the door locks reached from outside), and have basement windows replaced with glass blocks (at least one must have a vent installed by law for smoke ventilation in the case of a fire).

    • Jon

      Good point re: glass panels along side of front door. Got to remedy that.

  • Mary Brus Jackson

    I have a security system.. but.. i have also put stickers by each door handle that warns an intruder that the property owner is armed and will do whatever needed to protect home and contents and people inside. Nothing inside is worth risking your life for. Got them on ebay. Put them next to each door handle of my home. Just one more thing to give an intruder to think about before breaching that doorway.

    • JoeHBro

      that also alerts the burglar that there are valuable firearms in the home and its a worthy target… plus it might make them come back better armed.

      • oneslackr

        I agree.

        Also all of those yard signs that say your home is protected by ADT or whoever just let the bad guys know that you have valuables inside worth protecting. I've seen interviews with burglars who have stated the same. I don't think those signs really deter professional criminals, they just make your home even a bigger target.for them. Perhaps they might scare off some punk kid wannabe.

        • Dark Patriot

          If you still want to enter without my permission after reading my warning come on in. My equipment is silent and non- lethal on auto. No blood loss either. You might go to jail blind and crippled but how does that bother me?

        • guest

          I am valuable

      • Guardianman

        pretty much everyone has valuables in America. As owner of with nearly 30 yrs experience in stopping and following in the tracks of intruders the signs help but have less deterrent value than ever because many systems are inactive or fake but they indeed make a difference.

      • Naiad

        Agreed, this is how my grandfather was murdered. He brandished his gun at a stranger who knocked at his door late one night. The stranger came back a few days later and murdered him to get the gun.

    • dan

      i have a security sys also SMITH AND WESSON and REMINGTON

    • Stu

      Those stickers would work if the intruder can read!! or if they can be seen in the dark !!!

  • Dean Craig

    one more – get a sign like this and put it in the front yard!

  • komosnooze

    Camera, up high out of reach. People hate to be "IDENTIFIED" and the use of video images as evidence can be pretty helpful in apprehending and prosecuting.

    • Guardianman

      yes indeed…don't try to cover too much …focus on choke points and make sure you have a good recorder in a safe place…an alarm helps too

  • Billy

    Great article. The only advice I disagree with is the dog (don't get me wrong I have a dog, just not for crime prevention). I know someone who was a parole officer for 30+ years, they had many,many bad guys on their caseload over the years and what they learned/told me was that when a bad guy comes across a dog in a place they want to break into they just give the dog a treat (the parole officer even used this same trick when approaching houses on their routine check-ups of the bad guys and says it works with the meanest looking pooches!). Therefore I think a dog as a crime deterent gives a false sense of security. Just my 2 cents, spend them as you see fit.

    • John

      The dog is there more as a watch dog not necessarily as a guard dog, or even as a deterant. But most can bark and alert you or others that someone is around.

    • Stu

      Have to agree with you on the dog thing. I worked for the Post Office for 30+ yrs and that was one thing most carriers had was some dog treats. Plus my dog would lick them to death if they offered a treat !

    • oneslackr

      Yeah, a dog treat will go a long way with most dogs. Or lets say your dog is inside barking at an intruder who is outside. If the intruder has been able to unlock/break through a door what is to stop that intruder from opening the door & standing out of the way up against the wall while the dog rushes out the door. If he is quick enough he could probably step inside & shut the door before the dog even realized what happened. Now your guard dog is locked outside, LOL…. Anything is possible.

      My wife & I own 7 dogs (2 male Great Pyrenees, 1 male Siberian Husky, 1 male Malamute, 1 female Chow, 1 female Yorkie, & 1 female Pomeranian). The Pyrenees are litter mates, one is 105 lbs. & the other is 150 lbs. Our Malamute is the biggest weight & length wise (a so called Giant Mal) & weighs 197 lbs. & is 31"+ at the shoulder. None of them would stop a burglar if someone broke in. The Pyrenees, Yorkie & Pom would bark their heads off at a stranger, the Chow would just stand there looking scary, & the Malamute & Husky would run up to greet the bad guy & help him carry our stuff out of the house.

      Of course I don't think anyone would break into a house with 7 barking dogs. Also visually the 3 biggest dogs listed above are huge deterrents. We also count on them to let us know if some is around outside. In addition, we have a wireless driveway alarm that sounds off when anyone comes down the driveway, whether by car or on foot (though the wild animals tend to set it off sometimes too). We live on 6 wooded acres with a 350 ft. long driveway so no one usually comes around here or could easily case our place. You can't see our house from the main road, which is both good & bad.

      Our neighbors are not close by either (good & bad). Behind our property is our neighbors empty 320 wooded acres. To the west of us our neighbor's home is 300 feet away hidden by trees. Our neighbor's home to the east of us (the one with the 320 acres) is a good 1/4 mile away. So the dogs are nice to have around.

    • Retired Marine

      Our peekapoo would lick a bad guy's face if he got in the house but she would turn him away with her barking before he got in. But if he did get in, GLOCK 9MM, loaded & ready.

  • jeffadaklin

    My dogs are little guys, main source of defense is their little- loud mouths. They would be useless as attack dogs, but a warning bark can be very helpful.

    • guest

      You are so right. I still have the person prowlin around at 3:23am and they still warn me that they are on the side of the house. Thanks for those little dogs they are good alarm systems.

  • Andy

    One thing I would suggest especially with the holiday's approaching. Watch what you put out to the curb for the garbage guys to collect. Not saying the garbage guys are the bad guys but say you just got a large flat screen TV and other expensive household items. Don't put the boxes out to the curb with your trash openily. Instead cut it up and put it in a bag or can or burn them if you're allowed. These are merely billboards for would be house theives. They see a box for your TV sitting out on the curb they know you just got a nice TV and invites them to wonder what other nice things you have in your house.

  • Nathaniel Nelson

    My service Dogs are trained NOT to accept food, treats ect from anyone but me or wife! German Shepards BIG Bark, and all kinds of teeth. Also part wolves, they dont bark , they just attack.
    Nate Nelson, Rashka@fairpoint . net

    • Billy

      A service dog with training is not something everyone can afford. Normal people buy their dogs as pets (nothing wrong with that, I have a dog who makes me laugh every day), if people think that these pets are going to deter a bad guy then they are simply wrong more often then not. I've even heard of the crooks taking the dog along with other stuff!

      My advice, get a good alarm system from a reputable source and make sure you turn it on! (I know people who have an alarm and only turn it on when they leave the house, what is the sense in that, protect your things and not your family???)

  • Fernando Tejero

    Be always alert. When you park your car , when you get out of it. when you walk into the house. Always scan the area to identify threats. Use your perpherical vision all the time. Walk nonchalantly as if not worried but be alert and always have a loaded gun near you. In the car's glove compartment, on you, in several tactical places in your house, especial the bathrooms; in case the robbers lock you and your family up inside the bathroom. If you sense trouble might be a sudden possibility call all members of your family that are in the house at that moment, get in the master bedroom, lock the door, call 911, have a loaded gun at the ready and never leave the room till the police arrive.

  • the averagejoe

    Daer readers please note that though some dogs dont have an idea what to do if there wore an intruder in your home, there are plenty of them that just sence it in the air . my advice is set up you home with lights , you know ,the ones that have a senser build into them, that way the intruder is surprised and you are alarmed and remember a shotgun will alway win over a hand gun in close range incounters .always one step head of them wrong doers, peace and love my friend, i wish every one could live life by that saying.

  • fred

    Lots of great advice. Don't forget the garage! I think many people, myself included, have thought that their garage door is pretty secure…. until I saw this video…
    Now I have my release latch wired closed.

    • Billy

      Good point! If you have an alarm (or are getting one installed), get the company to put a sensor on the garage door (I did).

  • porkchop6209

    Loved the Dobie pic, raised two fine ones. One definately would scare the living daylights out of anyone. Only treat he would take is the whole hand. Son has a Weimeraner at about 115 lbs., most protective dog I've ever trained. Has a bark that will run ice water through your veins. Have seen him go after people and he is really intimidating. Had a van load of mexicans case us, came back later to try and grab stuff from outside, crossed paths with my yellow mixed breed that mortally hates strangers. He bit into and held the inside right thigh of the first guy that jumped out, tore into him something fierce. From the amount of blood we think he punctured the femoral artery. His friends bailed and left him, spinning backwards up the driveway and sliding around into the street. He managed to get loose and took off after them and made a headlong dive through the sliding door opening as they peeled off up the street(we live 150 feet off a dead end). For some strange reason they never did come back to visit with us. Son said it was the funniest thing he's ever seen.

    • Billy

      Again, not everyone has trained dogs (nor the time or money to have their dog trained). I'm glad you do, maybe you could open a business training dogs in your area and help others out. But, like I said earlier, most folks only have a pet dog and if they think it is a deterrent they are simply misguided.

  • catmandoes

    Don't forget cats when thinking home protection! If you are an elderly or infirm person, you automaticaly keep your doors locked. When you go to answer the door, scoop up your cat and take him or her with you. I don't know of any punks or many would-be invaders who can continue their course of action with a thouroughly enraged feline (not declawed) wrapped around their heads. At least you will be able to slam the door and retreat to a safe place and call the law. I saw this happen a couple of times. An added bonus is in the identifying the culprit. Sixteen bloody furrows on the head and face can't be hidden!

    • ???


    • Alan_T

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ! ! ! ! The 60's were fun times , weren't they ? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ! ! ! !

  • Paul Purcell

    Good article, George. Couple of things to add:
    1. You can strengthen your door latch strike place by removing the little 1-inch screws and replacing them with 3-inch screws that will dig into the wooden door framing.
    2. Landscape with gravel underneath hidden windows. Gravel crunches and may alert you to an intruder if you're home.
    3. Even if you don't have a dog, put out bowls and a heavy chain. Make it look like a big dog is there.
    4. If you have a security system, see if they offer the wrist or necklace "panic button" alarms. These are great Christmas gifts for elderly relatives.
    5. Learn which items around the common areas of your house can be used as weapons. Things can happen so fast that you might not have time to get to your primary defensive weapon.
    (Continued on next comment…)

  • Paul Purcell

    (Continued from previous)
    6. If you have a video surveillance system, work with neighbors and put a camera on their house that faces your house and do the same for them. If intruders pull up in a vehicle, this helps get car and tag info.
    7. For neighborhood watch, we created a Suspicious Activity Report form to help communicate your observations. It's a no-cost, no-opt-in download at:
    8. If you hear a suspicious noise in the yard, look out the windows, and use naturally occuring reflective surfaces such as your car windows, windows on the neighbor's house, etc. so you can see if anyone is there.
    9. Speaking of cars, if you don't have an alarm system, remember that you might have the panic button for your car alarm on your remote access key. Tell your neighbors to come check on you if they hear the car alarm.
    10. Some home invaders follow people home from a shopping trip. So, if you're buying a lot this holiday season, make sure you're not being followed home.

    • Billy

      Good tips! (except the dog thing, I don't think a criminal with any experience will fall for it)
      I really like the video surveillance idea! Good stuff.

      • Retired Marine

        I think the dog chain is a good idea.

  • porkchop6209

    The only problem with the security systems is many criminals know all they have to do is cut the phone lines to disable it. I know it triggers it, but many times the companies are slow to follow up on a lost line signal vs. an outrite alarm. Sharp, prickly bushes in front of windows helps also. Best things to do, and I really wish more folks would do it, is to keep firearms heavily secured in safes or lock boxes. We need to make it the hardest on criminals to try and get guns. I guess then they'll all have to turn to the Feds to get their hardware.

  • Ian

    I heard this once from a police officer. If you can't afford a big dog or just don't want one, go out and purchase the biggest dog dish you can find. Than write on the side of the dish: "Killer" , "King" , "Brutus" or whatever bad *ss name you can think of. Now, before you put it on the back porch, you need to scuff the crap out of it, as if it were actaully being used. Put the dish on your back porch or where you think would be criminals would see it. You can also get a heavy duty dog chain and have it tied up near the back porch to add to the scene. Now, possible criminals see signs of a big dog. But, do they really want to find out if one is inside?

    I also agree with the comment on keeping your landscaping trimmed. My in laws are very paranoid about being broken into. But, they have these giant bushes that haven't been trimmed in years. I could hid a Mack truck behind these bushes and now one would know it was there! This gives the criminal lots of cover to hide, himself, his tools and your possessions.

    • Skippy

      How about planting thorny bushes under windows if you have to have shrubs at all? Believe me, unless it's winter and they are wearing canvas bibs or leather they will get chewed up by good sturdy rosebushes or hawthorne under windows. And just remember to have blanketing available inside to toss over the same brambles in case you have to exit via the window in case of fire.

      • Guardianman

        good tip

      • Robert Johnston

        Here in SD County, we prefer cacti–drought resistant, yet a nasty surprise for a burglar trying to come into your home via a window!

    • Chris

      Another huge advantage would be proper landscaping to prevent a break in. Look it up online and find suggestions of what to plant and where to plant it. For example thorny hedges/plants under your windows. Also a dirt path around the edge of your home can be an indicator of someone casing your home.

  • will

    I saw this tip elsewhere and thought it was good: don't program your actual address into your auto GPS under "home" – use an intersection, gas station, school, whatever nearby – if your car is stolen the bad guy won't have your home address (and know you're not there and probably won't be for a while)…

    • Hunny

      All they have to do is look in your glovebox for your insurance card andmthey will have your address…..

  • brad

    i put barrel bolt locks at top and bottom of both our back doors besides the deadbolts and flip over latches on front door…this should slow them down a bit

  • Joey nguyen

    I agree with a lot of the rules written and said in these comments,especially the ones about how crooks can cut the telephone wire. That has happened a lot to my neighbors, friends, and family. The crooks just cut the wire, get in and steal the stuff. But I want to mention that one of my family members got her pursed stolen from her car while she was in church. I think the crook scooped out people going to church without purses or handbags, and my family member was unlucky that day. Also, somehow the crooks manage to take the purse by breaking the cars window and NOT setting off the alarm. The policeman who came to report said that criminals are using something like a spark plug sk it wouldn't set off the alarm. Be wary people as crooks are getting smarter.

    • joey nguyen

      Also one of the people at the church who was around the parking lot several days after the incident stopped a black man who was in the middle of robbing another car. All the man said to the black guy was "sir!" The black guy looked at him and ran off. So on that day someone was lucky because some person was around. So being able to speak up can deter a lot of crooks.

  • HatRat

    Friends of your friends are not always YOUR friend! Beware when your friends or aquaintences bring unknown persons to your home. If you are having someone house sit for you, make it clear they are to have no parties or friends that you are not familiar with over to your home. This is always an easy way for people you do not know to case your home or gain access as well as find out how long you will be gone.

  • Mike K. Calgary

    "Some items in this house have been marked with federal identification numbers. Other items have been simply wired to electrocute. Good luck."

  • Mike K. Calgary

    Outside by the back door…. size eighteen wookboots, an oversized doggy dish, a heavy chain attached to a spiked collar, a few copies of Guns & Ammo on the picnic table. The note on the door reads, "Bubba, Tiny and I went to buy more ammo. Don't bother the rotti as he has just been dewormed and for some reason is really pissed off."

    • lucky

      Maybe just a little over the top?

      • Mike K. Calgary

        Sure, maybe a tad. We gotta lighten up once and a while. How about a sign inside the front/back gate? "If you can read this, your within range. We don't cal 911."

  • jim Holm

    GOOD STUFF!!! Be especially careful after you might have a garage or yard sale. It is a perfect opportunity to "case" the property. I had 2 guys come back over a week later and were very pushy at the door until my Son joined me at the door. They became uninterested when 2 on 2. I have to admit I became very uneasy.

  • DeputyC

    Lots of great information. As a L.E.O. my best advice is to be aware. Most turds will case a home before attempting any illegal activities. Being on your toes and reporting suspicious behavior, people or vehicles can save you (or your neighbor) from a burglary or home invasion. Even if it cannot be proven that they were up to no good, contact by the local Police or Sheriff's Office will deter most would-be criminals.

    • redlace76

      Thank you for what you do.

  • hilario witiza

    A barking dog is second to none.
    It's the nose, the eyes that you haven't.
    Be alert and prepare.
    With your illuminated handgun (45, 40 or 9) in his place.
    It means with you.

  • Jon

    We have a small wussy dog that will go bananas barking when we are in bed and she hears a strange noise. From that point I reach into my bedside drawer for my Ruger GP100 375 magnum revolver w/ hollow point bullets.

    • jon39

      Make that a .357 magnum

  • Alan Z…

    As to dogs…my Lab-Rott cross is one of those "friendly-to-all-lick-thier-face-off-wanna-play" types, yet when a stranger began acting agressive toward me, he went on alert and began growling menacingly. Even the most docile dogs have a protective instinct, especially concerning children. A dog may not prevent a burglar from entering your home, but will most likely act to defend it's "pack" when threatened, even if untrained.

  • Terri T.

    I like this idea:

    If you are a shooter, leave a target up on the property near the house where it's easily seen by anyone passing by. At least they know there's a chance that trouble might be in store for them, if they decide to try something stupid. Heck, even a donated target would give food for thought. Every little bit helps.

  • Guardianman

    Remove the pull string that releases overhead doors….ez for burglars to pull
    Don't hide spare key rather but in lockbox or install entry keypad

  • aussiebeer

    I know the victim of an organized home invasion conducted by a group of sheriff's deputies. It was supposed to be just a burglary, but the wife was in bed asleep when they came in. Some were in physical training uniforms, some in on-duty uniforms. We are about to go global with our exposure of what they did. We have some surveillance footage. This happened 2 years ago, and we have been gathering evidence against this group of men since then.

  • Michael

    One huge item everyone leaves out is the early warning system. Motion sensors letting you know well before a crook gets anywhere near your house. A crooks biggest advantage is surprise. The next biggest item AI a real steel door with a real steel door frame. Not the cheap homedepot type, but the real commercial type. Only abut 250 bucks complete. Any other door can be kicked in with one swift boot on the latch. Those 3" screwa only make it take 2 kicks on the latch. The best advise I read in the article was "think like a real burglar". Real robbers nowadays don't give a f**ck about you and would kill you in a second regardless of your signs or dogs. Be alert! Early warning rules!

  • Robert Johnston

    If you get a dog, get a well-trained one, preferrably Schutz-Hund trained.
    Don't just look for one who's only redeeming quality is toughness.

  • Robert Johnston

    Sings of the times:

    "WARNING–These premises are guarded by a shotgun three times a week.
    You guess which three!"

    "WARNING–I know what you thinking.
    However, if you came to loot?
    You will leave in a baggie, and your soul will be in Hell by dawn!

    "Does Hell Await–
    Try looting here and find out!"

    That "TWANG" sound you hear means Death is on the way–
    courtesy of Barnett crossbow with a broad-headed bolt!

    "If Death Is What You Seek–You Came To The Right Place!"

    Room occupant is a trained swordsman–
    and the blade he wields is really razor-sharp!
    Leave here now, or you'll be playing a harp!"

    "You force open the door?
    Long stick goes "BOOM"–
    and you go straight to Hell!"

    "If the attack cats, housemates, or property manager don't get you first–I WILL!"

    "You break in, you'll die as you lived–IN A FLASH OF MY BLADE!"

    "My hands can deliver a soothing massage–or a lethal knife-hand strike to your throat!
    Your choice–your funeral!"

    "Want to give your body to science?
    Trespass here–the Medical Examiner will do the rest after I'm done!"

    "Trespass here, get a free ride–
    to the Medical Examiner's Office in a body bag!"


    • Robert Johnston

      Should read "Signs Of The Times."

  • jeffadaklin

    gues said "You are so right. I still have the person prowlin around at 3:23am and they still warn me that they are on the side of the house. Thanks for those little dogs they are good alarm systems"
    Another idea- get a tactical flashlight- at least 120 lumens, 220 is much better- but get one with a strobe. (Nebo makes one called a RedLine, about $25-30 on ebay search)- when you realize he's outside, put that thing on strobe, shine 220 into your yard strobing like that. Can be seen for a couple hundred yards, people like him HATE bright light.

  • Robert

    Ayoob says regarding having your defense weapon in the nightstand drawer, don't. Under the bed unholstered, is better and faster. May not apply if you have children livng in the home.

  • Alex__

    I got everything described in this article, alarms (with stickers and
    yard sign), dead bolts and locks, dogs (big ones), good lit, according
    to the police my house is a hard target because of where is located,
    yet my house got burglarized anyways. By the destruction they left
    behind it’s pretty clear it wasn’t their first rodeo. The next door
    house got burglarized 4 month after mine. We don’t live in a bad
    neighborhood either. Something to note, nothing got stolen on either
    burglary, the alarm scared them off, but we have the stickers and yard
    signs !!! They broke in anyways !
    So what’s next? Hiring an armed security guard?

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