Last year there were over 392,000 burglaries throughout the United Kingdom. Of those, nearly three quarters happen in residential homes. That boils down to one burglary every 90 seconds. While you can prevent intrusions by equipping yourself with a home security system, keeping doors and windows locked, and maintaining a well lit home, here’s what you should do if you awake to find someone in your house.
1. Verify their presence.
It’s easy to let your imagination run wild. Maybe you just finished watching a scary movie and are jumpy. Perhaps you dream something that didn’t actually happen. Whatever the case, If you wake up and think you heard something strange, take a deep breath and listen closely. See if you can distinguish between pet movements and normal plumbing sounds and those of footsteps, breaking glass, opening doors, or shuffling objects and furniture. If you can confirm someone is in the house, move onto step two.
It might be tempting to charge down the stairs with a baseball bat or umbrella, but that could endanger your life. You won’t know if the intruder is there to steal your TV or do you harm.. Choose flight instead of fight and move onto step three.
3. Call the police.
Once you know someone is in your home, call the police. Emergency dispatchers are used to these situations, so keep your voice to a whisper and speak slowly so they can hear you. If you can’t talk because the intruder is too close, you might be able to use the text 999 function to call for help silently.
This texting function was introduced to help the hearing impaired, but it can also serve you if you need to hid, more information on how to register for this service can be found at http://www.emergencysms.org.uk/. The national target for an emergency police response call is 15 minutes, so try to relax while help is on the way.
4. Be quiet.
You don’t want to gamble one what kind of intruder is in your home. Maybe he/she will run off if you yell or make a noise, but they could become aggressive too. If you need to move around at all, do so extremely quietly. After all, it’s better to let someone make off with your electronics than your life.
5. Alert your housemates.
If you live with friends or family, you should let them know something is happening in the home. You can do this by text if everyone has a mobile phone or by quietly creeping to their rooms. If you have children, you can keep them calm by letting them sleep, but locking their doors. It’ll be better if they don’t panic and make noise. Plus, locking their doors will keep the burglars out.
6. Secure your pets.
If you have a dog, you might not have an intruder problem. However, there are plenty of pooches that aren’t afraid of strangers. If your dog didn’t alert you initially, but is making noise once you’re awake and agitated, try to calm him/her. Also, keep your pets with you if you can. If they run toward the intruder, they could be harmed.
7. Decide if you need to escape.
If it sounds like the person in your home is there to hurt you, find a way out immediately. Look for windows you can safely exit, or places to hide if you can’t make a getaway. You shouldn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes for help to arrive, so hang tight and do what’s best for your personal safety in the meantime.
8. Stay calm.
Panicking can cloud your judgement and cause you to make mistakes. It would be impossible to keep your heart rate down and adrenaline from spiking during a home invasion, but you’ll need to take control of your nerves. One way to do this is to take 10 deep breaths. It’ll give your brain more oxygen, give you time to think, and keep you from making any spontaneous decisions.
9. Take notes.
If you’re in a position where you can see the intruder, memorize everything. In the chance he/she gets away before police arrive, you’ll want to be able to give a detailed account of weight, gender, height, and clothes they are wearing. It’ll make it easier for police to track the intruder down and prevent them from targeting other homes.
A break-in can be an unnerving and traumatic experience. Although, being prepared for the worst can help tremendously. Memorize these steps above and practice your break-in protocol at home—much like you would a fire drill. That way, you’ll be ready if someone breaks into your home while you’re sleeping.
If you have been a victim of a home burglary, organisations such as victim support can offer support and advice, If you require a free, no-obligation security survey to improve the security within your property please do not hesitate to contact us on 0203 488 1699 or visit www.hensonsecurity.com