Holiday Home Invasion: Prevention & Response

[Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final installment in a short series of articles from our Contributor Team that we are sharing at the Personal Defense Network Blog in the hopes that you and your family have not just a happy holiday season, but also a safe & secure one. Merry Christmas -RJP]

Holiday Home Invasion: Prevention & Response

There you are playing with your toddler around 8pm in the comfort of your home a few days before Christmas and you’re startled by two loud kicks on the main entry door. Was it neighborhood kids playing a joke or maybe a package being delivered late? The dog is barking and your 2-year-old asks “who is that man mommy?” In a panic you quickly grab your phone and call your husband who is still at work. Now he is on the other end of the line 45 minutes away trying to make sense of and explain the problem with something logical. Without a better answer, he tells his wife to go outside and look around. Unfortunately, every year at this time, innocent victims will be taken advantage of. If you don’t want to become a crime victim during the holidays, then you need to have a plan in place, even for a holiday home invasion. Here are some basic tips to provide you with a starting point.

From the outside, what does someone see?
Generally speaking, a house that looks easier to succeed at a break-in without getting caught will be hit first. During the holiday season while you are out picking up last minute Christmas gifts, others are shopping house to house for the easier ones. Even when you’re not home, it is important to give the appearance that someone is.
Leave the light on for them. If someone is at your front door, make sure they are standing in broad daylight. If they are unable to hide in the shadows, it increases the risk of getting caught. Leave a few lights on internally as well.
The local delivery driver tried to deliver a package while you were away, but nobody was home. Everyone knows this because he left a sticker on the door telling the world as such. After reading it, it is even easier to know how many days you’ve been gone by the number of delivery attempts that were made. Arrange for these sort of tags and any other items like mail or stacking newspapers to be picked up.

Will your neighbors notice?
This time of year, visitors are very common at most homes. Do those who live around you think you’re only having a friend or family member stopping by? If you will be gone over night or for extended vacations, communicate with your neighbors beforehand. If they know you are away, they may be more alert to the random vehicle in the driveway or in front of the home.


Know ahead of time

We don’t always get an early warning, but it is slightly easier while at home. The more time you have to get yourself to safety, the greater the chance you can make a better decision of what action to take. Locking your doors is a starting point, but a modern alarm system can really help. If you have one, use it. If you don’t, consider making the purchase prior to another gun this year.
With a modern alarm, you can have alerts sent to you even when you are away. With a vibration sensor on the door, you can have a text sent when someone is knocking. You can even have an alert sent when your motion light is turned on.
When you are home, a simple driveway alarm can alert you to someone driving in the driveway or walking up the sidewalk.

Don’t place yourself in more danger
With the above true story that happened locally a few days ago, the mother placed herself and child in danger by opening the door and exploring what/who was outside. If you don’t have a plan before hand, you are forced to make it up in a moment of panic when you aren’t really thinking about the plausible circumstances. Luckily for her, it turned out with a positive ending.
The young mother later found out that many houses in her neighborhood had burglaries that night. The homeowners surprised them in at least one instance.
If you are not expecting someone or do not know who is at the door, it would be better not to open it. If you believe someone is attempting to break in to your home, a call to 911 would be appropriate. If someone purposely lured you outside, the outcome will more than likely not be good. I can assure you that your local law enforcement agency would not mind checking things out for you and had the mother in above situation called the police, the burglars may have been caught.

Have a home defense plan
All of the listed pointers help us prevent an encounter with an intruder. In more than a few cases, the above is not enough. If you end up with an intruder inside of the home or trying to force entry, you need to quickly put a plan of action in the works. Get yourself and family far away from the attacker with many barriers in between you and them if possible. Arm yourself with your home defense handgun or something that could be efficiently used if you don’t have one available. From your barricaded location, contact 911 to get help in route.
Even though break-ins may increase during the holiday season, it is not the only time of year where they show a spike. According to the FBI uniform crime report, a burglary happened at a rate of once every 18.2 seconds during 2014. If you don’t have a home defense plan yet, now is the time to sit down with your family and make a plan for events like these.
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18 Responses to “Holiday Home Invasion: Prevention & Response”

  1. Louis

    I do not know how many have thought of this BUT if you have an interior room as a saferoom, maybe your master bedroom (preferably with a window escape route if you need it) have a solid “exterior” door on that room.
    Besides the doorknob lock, install a keyed only dead bolt.
    Further install a barrel bolt near the top of the door and another near the bottom of the door.

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  2. Janice

    Great advice. I’m always accused of over thinking things but you can never be ready enough in my opinion. I think a situation has to play out in your mind to be able to react. My dad whispering in my ear always have a back up plan. He’s so right.

  3. J Bordelon

    Excellent article. no matter is in question call 911, turn the dogs loose, put warning a shot over their heads is the police haven’t gotten there, the dogs big or small combined with an armed and shooting owner usually the invaders will retreat fast.DO NOT TAKE ANY CHANCES

    • Danofive0

      Never fire a warning shot. You can go to jail for it.
      Here in Cal/Mexico you will.
      If you are in Cal/Mexico.
      1. They must be in your home. And they must have something that can harm you. Then you can take them down. Even then. 5-0 will take you downtown. And try to find a way to get you.
      If you need to defend yourself/family. Never never talk to the police until you have a lawyer with you.
      Just give your name and ask for a lawyer. THen shut the hell up.
      Don’t talk yourself into jail.
      Just saying.

    • C Bergman

      Warning shots are illegal in many jurisdictions. Even when they’re not, you are responsible for every round leaving your firearm. Are you prepared for the results of a warning shot round?

    • John

      Never, Never, Ever ! fire a warning shot.
      Once the bullet leaves you gun you can Never call it back.
      When you fire a shot do you know what it’s going to hit
      or where it’s going to hit?
      If you’re in a city limit you can be charged with discharging a fire arm in a city limits.
      A warning shot is Never a good idea!

    • Helen Scott

      Everything but the warning shot over their heads! You don’t know where that shot is going to end up and you don’t want to be the one who kills a neighbor – even a mile away.

    • George Craig

      DO NOT TAKE ANY CHANCES? Of course you know precisely where that warning shot is going to hit. Perhaps it would be better to save that shot in case it is needed and avoid hitting an innocent that would be difficult to explain when the police do get there.

  4. Frank Zimmerman

    Teach your young children to NOT open the door when someone knocks or rings the door bell. A self contained camera on the door, like a “peep hole”, is cheap and easy to install. Then you (collective you) know who is there. Some allow you to push a button and keep a picture of who is there.

  5. Art The Fart

    We have never had a problem with home invasion, and I have been around for 72 years! Two German Shepherds inside the house and I always wear a pistol. Seems to work well.

  6. Ian

    A good reminder for all the families when the holiday season is coming or happening.. thanks for a wonderful write up. Happy to see bloggers like you!