Surviving a home invasion is a frightening experience, and there’s only so much you can do to prepare. Of course, investing in state-of-the-art security and camera systems, automatic lights, and even swapping out your doors and frames for reinforced versions is a great start, but there’s more to it than just fortifications. You need a survival mindset.
You need to overcome the fear of the events unfolding around you and take quick and rapid action if you don’t want to become a victim yourself.
Because often, it’s the frightened little lambs that you’ll read about in the news. The ones who froze up and let it all happen, that the truly bad things happen to. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that to happen to me, or to my family. And there’s a few things you can do to tilt the scales in your favor.
Get yourself out of there
There’s a whole lot of chaos during a home invasion but you need to remember one thing, you’ve got the home field advantage. Use it. Get out of your house as fast as you can, and seek refuge with a neighbor or simply book it the hell out of there to a well-lit location that’s full of people. Lacking any good 24-hour shops around our neighborhood, we’ve made an agreement with a couple of our neighbors to do exactly that.
Perhaps there is a second-floor window you can shimmy down from, or a back door you can make it through unnoticed. If you’re not trapped inside your house with the bad guys, you stand the best chance of surviving. We’ve got a set of clothes and a pair of shoes that sit just under our bed, so we can get dressed in a flash and be outside in under a minute.
Get aggressive and react
Instead of hiding in your closet hoping to escape unscathed, grab your gun (or whatever weapon you have) and make some noise. Let the intruders know you’re aware of their presence, you’re armed and willing to fight back, and perhaps even fire off a warning shot. This should be more than enough to give any home invader pause, as they consider if it’s even worth the risk to stay, or if they are better off going to find an easier target, and a less aggressive victim.
Of course, escalating the situation like this can also be a risk, but in my opinion, it beats waiting like a lamb for the slaughter. Our gun safe is in our master closet, and let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like hearing a shotgun being racked through the stillness of the night to give anyone unwelcome in your home a little pause. It’s worth arming yourself.
Get ready for a fight
There’s nothing quite like being punched in the face, but I’ve got to tell you, we imagine it to be far worse than it really is. The fear of conflict is usually what keeps most of us out of physical confrontations, but it’s not always as bad as you think. Cuts and bruises heal, and so do broken bones. Knife and bullet wounds are more lethal, but it doesn’t always get that far.
Yes, I know it can go sideways. Any fight can go sideways, weapons or not. But your body is rather resilient, and especially if you’ve had a little self-defense training and you can throw a decent punch or two, or you've got a pair of knuckle dusters to give you an edge. Sometimes you’ve got no other choice. You need to be ready for a fight, and not let your attacker make the first move. Throw the first punch and fight.
Get your ego in check
But there’s a caveat to this. You’re not Jason Bourne, or John Wick. If you’re severely outnumbered or outgunned, fighting could only worsen the end result. You’ll anger your attackers, and perhaps make the whole situation worse for you and your family. Be smart, and make sure you stand at least a chance to win before you start swinging your fists.
I’ve had plenty of martial arts training, and while I’m confident against most attackers I face, it’s a very different story if I’m surrounded on all sides by 3, 4 or more opponents. There’s a strength in numbers that you simply cannot balance, no matter how good of a fighter you are. Real life isn’t like the movies. In this situation I’d recommend escape, or hiding just long enough that you can even the scales, and take on your opponent’s one at a time.
Get your family safe
Finally, I want to touch on this point because it’s critical, and is where things can turn from a bad experience to horribly wrong. Risking your life, or even jail time (depending on the laws in your particular state). Your primary job is to keep your family safe.
This does not give you leniency to chase down or shoot fleeing criminals. If you’re successful at turning the home invasion around, you need to stop there. Do not continue chasing them down the street. Do not continue firing at their backs as they run away, no matter what they’ve done or taken. No matter how pumped up on adrenaline you are.
Your only job is to keep your family safe. Much like a cornered dog, a criminal will fight back viciously if they are cornered or trapped. It’s not your job to apprehend them. Or to put your life at risk trying to run them down. Let the police do that. Your only priority is the safety of your family, and you shouldn’t do anything to compromise this.
Home invasions are indeed a scary occurrence, but with the right mindset you’ll be able to tip the scales in your favor and ensure you make it out unscathed. React fast, escape if you can, fight back if not, and remember to put the safety of your family above all else.