According to the FBI, in 2012, a burglary occurred every 15 seconds. A larceny – unlawful taking of a person’s property – or theft occurred every 5.1 seconds. Walking inside to see your home ransacked is a traumatic sight. However, being home when a burglar enters your house is worse. Panicking may cause you to take an action you later regret. Home invasions may involve violence as burglars could attack you in your home. Plan ahead of time to prepare in case the worst should happen.

1. Design a Safe Room

Hide in a safe spot if you hear someone inside your home. Your hideaway should have a locking door so that a burglar cannot get inside. Turn your closet into a safe room by switching the flimsy door with a solid core door. As the name implies, these models are solid all the way through while most interior doors are hollow.

Install a deadbolt lock on the inside of your solid closet door. These locks are much harder to pry open than other locks. Take your family into the closet in the event of a home invasion and lock the door behind you. Be sure the lights are off and wait to leave until the coast is clear. Take a phone inside your safe room with you and dial 911 while you are there.

Convert the closet in a child’s bedroom if you’re only planning on making one safe room. Burglars tend to avoid kids’ rooms because they are cluttered with toys and often don’t have much worth taking. Teach your kids how to go inside and lock the closet in the event of an emergency.

2. Install Home Security

Install home security systems if you haven’t already. Don’t forget to have the alarm set at all times. Many homeowners who have security don’t use it. You should have motion sensors at all entry points of the home and aim the cameras at those same spots. Take your phone into your new safe room so that you’ll know when it’s all right to leave. Another option is to have a panic button – so small, it can be kept in a drawer or even your pocket!

Choose a security system that is monitored. Alarm monitoring notifies the service provider that a sensor has detected an invader. The monitoring center will call you for confirmation then notify authorities. The police will be on their way while you hide from burglars.

3. Look and Listen

You may be able to prevent a home invasion from happening by being attentive. Turn on the exterior and interior lights if you hear strange movement outside. A would-be burglar may decide not to attempt to enter your home if he or she believes someone is inside. Make noise if you hear something. Start talking to your spouse, or pretend to. This also let’s potential criminals know that you are at home. Many times, invasions occur because a burglar didn’t know that a person was there.

4. Get Out of the House

Exit your home if you can. If you hear an attacker coming in through the front door, leave through the back or vice versa. Your best bet is to not be home. Designate a gathering point somewhere in the neighborhood should you and your family get separated. Be sure that everyone is accounted for once you get there. Call 911 as soon as you’re off the property. Of course, you may not have the chance to get out in time. This is where having a safe room comes in handy.

5. Don’t Be a Hero

Owning a gun doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll use it in the event of a home invasion. You may not get the chance to load it or have a calm enough demeanor to use it. Home invasions are stressful and most people don’t have the training necessary to make wise decisions under that kind of pressure. Don’t attempt to engage a burglar if you feel panicked. You will be much safer if you hide. Furthermore, you may want to protect the family, but telling them to hide while you clear the house isn’t the best option.

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