When a person is in their own home, a burglary can occur where an intruder enters the property. At the same time, someone from the household is present. It is an established fact that occurs more often than one may conjecture. Do you understand your legal rights as a homeowner? Are you aware of how much strength you can use against an intruder?
What should you do if someone breaks in? You must understand your rights and choices, create a plan, and gain the necessary physical and psychological guidance to guard your house and family.
According to the Department of Justice, approximately 3.7 million cases of burglary happen annually.
Approximately 1.03 million burglary cases occur yearly, around 28% of which involve a home invasion, meaning a burglary while you are in residence. Burglaries that involve homes are calculated to be around one million per year, equalling two every minute. Approximately one-quarter of home break-ins (266,650) involve physical force, resulting in a violent occurrence every 120 seconds.
Making a plan is the most critical step a homeowner can take to cope with any emergency. Planning for the likelihood of a burglary at your residence is especially important.
The specifics of what home safety plan a homeowner should create can vary depending on their location, those they share a residence with, the size and structure of the house, the speed at which local emergency services can be reached, and if there is access to a weapon. It must also consider the legal privileges of the property owner under their local laws.
Do I Need a Home Defense Plan?
Approximately 1 million residential break-ins occur annually in the United States, and estimates suggest that 3 out of every 4 American properties will be the victim of burglary within the next two decades. The figures we previously discussed and these ones ought to be enough to motivate you to devise a home security scheme.
Without a prepared plan of action in the event of a home invasion, neither you nor your family members may be mentally or physically ready to protect yourselves if such an incident happens. Failure to be adequately prepared will open you up to risks that could have been averted had you possessed the proper security items. Comprehending how to use them to eliminate risks to your residence.
Key Principles for an Effective Home Defense Strategy
Suppose you have decided to put into practice a scheme for safeguarding your home. In that case, you should adhere to these rules to make an effective home defense system.
Prevention Beats Cure
Making your house unappealing to those who intend to intrude or do you harm is one of the greatest pieces of advice for keeping your home safe. Burglars generally gravitate towards houses that appear unprotected and uninhabited. If it appears that burgling into a home might be difficult or hazardous, a criminal would rather go to another place to do their criminal activity.
You can discourage a home intruder from entering your house by installing surveillance equipment with movement-sensitive lamps, video cameras, heavy exterior doors, window guards, and warning bells. If you are more of a fan of old-fashioned security, why not get a canine guard and put a fence around your house?
Make would-be intruders think twice by posting signs that signal you’ve taken security measures, like having a guard dog, cameras, or other security systems. Although you may not have a security system, displaying a sign indicates you will likely discourage most burglars.
Communication Is Key
For a home defense plan to be effective, everyone living in the house must be familiar with it and understand it. In other words, if you haven’t gone over the plan with your family about going to a safe room and locking the door when the alarm goes off, they may not remember to do it. Ensure that the plan for the safety of your home is clear and shared among those living there before a burglary can occur.
Things to discuss with your family include each person’s role during a home invasion, such as who will be responsible for the following:
- Calling the police
- Alerting everyone and herding them toward the safe room
- Grabbing the gun to protect everyone or scare off the invaders
Also, discuss strategies for different break-in scenarios. For instance, if the thieves haven’t left yet, all occupants should move to the safest place in the residence. If the robbers are already inside, your spouse or significant other could accompany the kids to their bedroom carrying a gun for protection while you try to scare or fight off the burglars with your own weapon.
Finally, think of a simple keyword or phrase that everybody can recall signaling when the residence is in danger. You might establish certain terms as signals to communicate to your family whether the danger has been eliminated or has increased. Using code words can assist you and your relatives in communicating rapidly in a frightening, fast-paced break-in situation.
Designate a Safe Room
Protecting your property during a home invasion is imperative, making sure to deter the burglars and make them leave quickly.
Suppose you are in charge of safeguarding your family. In that case, the other members should get to the safest spot in the residence and call the police.
The most protected area in the dwelling may be a panic room customized-made for that specific purpose or any room that is best equipped for defense. The ideal area of protection you can make for yourself will have a single door that can be blocked and walls that are solid enough to stop bullets from entering.
The room must also possess a form of a way out, such as a window or further type of evacuation route that your family can take in the case of an emergency. Finally, the room should be equipped with large pieces of furniture or other objects that will serve as a bulwark and grant a decent line of sight that puts intruders at an exposed location if they move ahead.
With your family well sheltered in the safe room, there are many ways to ward off trespassers in your home. It is suggested to take a stance that will make invaders announce themselves if they try to draw near you.
Once you find a secure spot to hide, yell out loud in a confident tone that you have already contacted the police and that you have a gun.
As soon as you recognize a danger to your house, phone the authorities yourself or have someone else make the call. At the same time, you take your family members to a secure room. Failing to contact the authorities could result in a lengthy home invasion, especially if you have an armed intruder who resists or will not go despite you being armed.
Dialing 911 will guarantee that immediate medical assistance will be provided if somebody is injured during a home invasion. Once you have gotten in touch with the police, stay on the phone to inform them about your location in the home and let them see how the scenario develops.
Stay Locked and Loaded
Invasions of one’s home can occur suddenly, meaning there may not be enough time to reassemble a disassembled firearm or get ammunition from a different room. Put some bullets close to your home protection gun, and ensure the gun can be used quickly in an emergency.
Remember to have the firearm near you while retiring for the night, or put it in a place that you will pass by while heading to the secure area so you can take it with you. Keep your gun in a quick-access safe if you have kids. You should keep a gun, a cell phone with a full battery, and a flashlight close to your bed. The telephone is to be used for emergency calls only, and the flashlight can assist in seeing if the electricity is out.
What Are My Legal Rights?
Note: This is not legal advice. Consult with your lawyer.
Laws may be different in each state. However, in this instance, we will be discussing Colorado legislation.
Duty to Retreat
In certain states, retreating from a dangerous situation is necessary before resorting to any form of force.
A law requiring homeowners to first retreat or work toward diffusing a difficult situation before applying force is known as duty-to-retreat regulations. This idea of staying away from physical fighting can be beneficial in keeping yourself and any other person involved safe; however, it is not always manageable.
In Colorado, people who own property are not obligated to attempt to leave the vicinity to evade danger before employing force to defend themselves.
The foremost priority of a homeowner should always be to do whatever is necessary to avoid a violent altercation.
Stand Your Ground/Castle Doctrine
Coloradans do not have to legally flee from potential dangers before responding to them, putting them in a position similar to the “Stand Your Ground” law. The same rights apply when citizens are encountered within their homes, including an extra clause. Under Penal Code CRS 18-1-704.5, as a homeowner, you can rightfully be afraid of potentially suffering death or a significant injury if someone remains in your house without permission. California has its own variation of the “Castle Doctrine,” which allows for using force under a certain presumption.
In other words, if you are outside and choose to defend yourself with force, you must explain why you thought the other person posed a danger. If you are in your own home, it is reasonable to assume that someone entering without your permission is a potential danger.
Proportionate Use of Force
In any self-defense-related situation, any response to a perceived danger must be appropriate to the level of danger.
The level of what is viewed as “generally reasonable” greatly depends on the situation.
- Factors affecting proportionate use of force include:
- Presence of a weapon.
- Size and number of threats.
- Size and ability of the homeowner(s).
- Indications of intent, e.g., “I’m going to kill you.”
What’s more, any activity taken by the person being assaulted can be the amount required to prevent danger. This degree of force may incorporate deadly force. When the peril is eliminated, you must stop employing force.
Despite what happens during the incident, occupants should still be able to provide a legal justification for their behavior. They should be able to plainly explain the aim of any action involving the use of force.
Could shooting an unarmed intruder who has already spotted the keeper be considered a suitable implementation of lethal power? Consider whether you could get a jury of 12 individuals to accept that you behaved no more diversely than some other sensible individual would, given the circumstances at hand.
Only utilize force if it is necessary to guard your family members and yourself against damage.
Devising a Plan
Considering these judicial regulations, you can now create a plan for your family in case of a home invasion. The essential abilities to stay safe are noticing vital and changing circumstances and being capable of answering suitably. To gain these proficiencies, you must complete certain instructions. Being ready and doing practice at the same time in a dilemma could be disastrous. The number of conceivable outlines makes it hopeless to devise an all-inclusive strategy. Reflect on introducing safeguards to your house to avert burglaries, and plot out what you would do if such a predicament should occur.
Staying safe means avoiding dangerous situations and taking steps to make your home less appealing to burglars and criminals. This guide offers simple advice on how to assess your home’s security.
Leaving your outside lighting on tells potential robbers that someone is present in the house and makes it harder for them to sneak around unseen. Using a motion sensor light could prove beneficial for conserving energy and illuminating the source of the motion.
Strengthening your house’s windows, doors, and garage doors can be a way to fortify it against intruders.
These include high-grade deadbolts, shatter-resistant glass, and metal safeguards covering up door locks. These measures will not be a complete impediment to a highly motivated adversary. Still, it will take extra effort and will be more noticeable when doing so.
It is important to balance safety and visual appeal, and many Homeowners Associations may not be keen on dwellings equipped with barred doors and windows.