It’s a warm summer night, the last hints of twilight finally fading into darkness. You’re sitting at home alone, folding laundry while watching some nighttime TV. Your kids are asleep upstairs, and you’re just beginning to look forward to heading to bed yourself. Grabbing the basket of laundry, you begin to walk towards the stairs leading to your bedroom. Suddenly, you hear a small noise, and you freeze. A small, light tapping noise is coming from your back door, which is facing away from the street that runs by your house. Placing the basket of laundry on the stairs, you slowly walk towards the door to investigate. The tapping becomes more insistent, and you suddenly see the source of the noise. A dark, shadowy figure is jiggling the door handle, and has nearly picked the lock! What should you do?
No one wants to believe that they’re going to experience an in-home burglary. Many thieves make it a point to strike during hours when a house is vacant, but some burglaries do occur when the residents of a home are present. If this happens to you, what should you do?
Before anything else, if you suspect that someone is trying to burglarize your home, call 911. Many people don’t make the call, mostly because they’re worried about it being a false alarm. However, remember that it’s important to put your safety (and the safety of your family) first. Call 911 and request police assistance immediately.
Gather Your Family
If other family members are at home, quietly inform them of the situation. If your family members are asleep, quickly rouse them and ensure that your family stays together.
Leave Your Home
This might be one of the hardest things for any homeowner to do. However, if your home is being invaded – Don’t be a hero. It’s much more important that you are able to get your family out of your home safely. Find an exit that hasn’t been compromised, and won’t put you in danger of being seen by the potential burglar.
If you’re unable to leave, ensure that all members of your family stay completely silent. The burglar may be under the impression that your house is vacant, which may buy you some time to escape.
Find a Secure Room
If your home has a “Panic Room”, bring your family inside of that room, and secure the door. Be sure that you have access to a phone (either a landline or cell phone) while inside the room, so that you can still contact emergency services. If you don’t have a panic room, bring your family into a locking closet, bathroom or other secure area.
Though it may be extremely difficult, it’s very important that you try to remain calm. Judge the situation, and try to take any opportunity to escape. By keeping a clear head, you’ll help to ensure that your family will survive a burglary unharmed. Also, if you are able to remain calm, it will help keep other members of your family from becoming agitated.