We think of our home as our castle, a safe retreat from the hustle and bustle of the outside world and the occasional dangers lurking there. If we do envision a threat to our home, it’s usually limited to property theft or vandalism to a vehicle.

But there’s one threat to homeowners consistently ranked as one of the most terrifying experience a person can face: a home invasion.

Although definitions of home invasion vary by state, the easiest way to think of a home invasion is when one or more individuals unlawfully enter a private residence knowing it is occupied. Worse, these intruders often are seeking to do violence to those inside, hence the term ‘invasion’ rather than ‘burglary’ or ‘break-in.’

Law enforcement statistics bear this out. For example, 38% of all the violent assaults reported to police occur during a home invasion. Similarly, 60% of rapes occur during a home invasion.

As if that wasn’t enough, the percentage of home burglaries that turn violent has also increased, meaning that of the nearly four million burglaries that occur each year, 80,000 homeowners or renters are seriously injured.

Deter, Detect, Hide and Think

For obvious reasons, home invasions are something people want to avoid. But how do you do this?

While we’ve outlined all of these steps in more detail on our website, here is a short description of the steps security experts recommend homeowners take to avoid home invasions or reduce their severity if they do occur.

Deterrence – Home invaders and burglars alike usually seek easy targets and avoid homes that look like trouble. In other words, they don’t want to get hurt, killed, or caught. Make your home an unattractive target by ensuring you have ample outdoor lighting, signs of active security (home security signage, cameras, etc.), a secure fence and gate, thorny hedges and bushes below windows, even a large dog bowl out front.

Detection Systems – Security cameras, motion sensors that trigger lights and alarms, and other detection and monitoring systems not only rob the home invader of the element of surprise, they also tell him he’s far more likely to get caught with his every step captured and recorded.

Hardening Solutions – The military has been using these solutions for years, and there’s nothing stopping homeowners from following suit. What’s a hardening solution? Anything that fortifies existing impediments and security systems. For example, add a deadbolt to your front door. Better still, install a steel door with reinforced framing. The key: limit access only to those who belong.

Safe or Hidden Rooms – While the idea of introducing a hidden or safe room into your home may sound melodramatic, it actually is quite practical. After all, all you’re really doing is fortifying one (or more) of your existing rooms, or putting in place techniques to hide the room. And many safe rooms double as a home vault, adding an extra layer of security for valuables and prized collections. Lastly, safe rooms work for the simple reason that some home invaders will not be thwarted – they’ve been targeting you or someone else in your home and they’re not going to be denied. And remember, if they make it inside, your home becomes a prison – to you and your loved ones.

Use Your Head – If there’s one tool for preventing a home invasion that every security expert agrees on, it’s this: use your brain and the common sense that comes with it. Keep doors and windows locked. Don’t open the door to strangers. Use a peephole (add one if you don’t have it) to preview visitors. Don’t leave valuables lying around and don’t communicate what you do have on social media.

We hope this has been useful. If you live in the Washington DC area and would like a security assessment of your home, contact us at 703.783.6373 or via email at info@arxstrong.com or just use this form.