Being Attacked In Your Home
Being Attacked In Your Home
Chris McGoey (President, McGoey Security Consulting) gives expert video advice on: Should I let the intruder know that I am aware of his presence? and more...
What should I do if I think an intruder has entered my home?
The biggest fear that most people have, especially women or elderly people, is when they hear a noise in the house in the middle of the night, are woken up from their sleep, and think 'My God, somebody's here; someone has broken in. What do I do?' You're still half asleep, and that's when panic sets in. What do you do? Well your choices are unlimited, but if you haven't planned for it, if you haven't thought about it, then you're likely to do nothing. Most people will just freeze, lie under the covers and hope they go away. Others will call out to the person and hope they'll leave. Others might turn on the light and hope they leave. Some might get to a phone and call the police if they have time, but again, there's that time period where you're there and you're in potentially imminent danger. You're always hoping that the person will leave. I think the important thing to do as part of this family plan that I keep harping on about, is that you need to think about that 'what if'. What if it happens tonight? There are things that you could do today to plan for that scenario to put you in a better situation. One would be the safe room concept we're talking about. In your master bedroom, if that's where you sleep, make sure your door is capable of being secured so if you hear that noise somewhere in the house you can secure that door and rest assured that there's a significant barrier that's going to protect you and give you time to call the police. Or, if you plan well enough, you will have locked that door, and you will have armed yourself with any number of weapons or self defensive devices so instead of becoming a victim you can be proactive. You'll have your cellphone in there to call the police or call a neighbour (if you have the relationship with your neighbours) for a quicker response. Then, you have more options. Then, the screaming and doing everything else all adds to making the burglar decide "This isn't the place I want to be."
If I think I hear an intruder in my home, should I investigate?
You ever watch those horror movies? Like Scream, and Scream 2 and all those types of movies. What does a victim do? They always investigate. The people in the audience are yelling at them screaming "No, No don't go in there, don't go in there!" because the bad man will be in there. No, I don't think you should investigate. I think you need to find yourself a safe location. If that's your bedroom stay there. Close the door, barricade it; secure it in some manner so you have that barrier between you and the noise. Then you can do a number of things. You can start calling out. You can yell to the person, "I'm calling the police. I have a gun." Whatever you feel is appropriate; whatever you plan for; whatever you're capable of doing. Most burglars will hit the road. Most burglars don't want you there if they truly come just to burglarise your residence. Once they know you're there and you've surprised them, they're going to want to get out of there. If they're home invader robbers who want you there, they're going to try to get to you. However, they can't get to you, because you're behind this solid barrier, and they know that you're on the telephone calling the police because they can hear you through the door and you're talking at a loud volume; that's going to tell them that their time is out. They'll take off.
Should I let the intruder know that I am aware of his presence?
In this situation, it's important to let the intruder know that you're aware of his presence. Some people will advise you to keep quiet and hope the intruder will leave, but I don't believe that and I think you need to be more proactive. Often, in these situations, the intruder is a burglar who thinks the property is unoccupied. Letting the intruder know that you are there, and that you're calling the police helps to send out a very clear message. I think it's important that you don't go out in the dark to investigate; I think that's the worst step that you could take. Another bad decision would be to take a firearm with you while you investigate, there is too much unpredictability involved with regard to how many intruders there are and the kind of weapons they may, or may not, be equipped with.
What should I do if a stranger attacks me in my home?
I've spoken to many victims over the years who tell me when they experienced an attack during their sleep. If this occurs, then your options are relatively limited. You need to focus and try and keep thinking, while it might seem disorientating when you first awake, there may be a moment where an opportunity arises that you can take advantage of. If you have some sort of weapons within arm's reach you can get to, that may be effective. If someone has a gun to your head or a knife to your throat, you have to remain alert and look for opportunity when you can relieve that weapon from the attacker, whether that be kicking it away or getting hold of it yourself. The key to dealing with this situation is continuing to think and look for ways out of it, planning for such an eventuality could also make a difference.
When should I use a weapon against a violent predator in my home?
The law states that, if someone enters your home and you believe that they are threatening the lives of you or your family, that you have the right to use deadly force. Deadly force could applied via a handgun, a baseball bat, hand-held combat or any other means. It's important to consider whether or not you'd be capable of using deadly force as it's not an easy decision to make in a lot of circumstances. If you really, deep down in your heart, are not able or willing to shoot someone or mortally wound them, then you need to come up with a "non-lethal" plan B. If you are thinking about relying on physical force, then you need to get some training and practice to make sure that you can defend yourself effectively.