Every day, I read a large number of news articles on burglaries, in an effort to track the latest trends and developments in residential crime across the U.S. Much of what I find is worth summarizing here, and you may have read some of those posts. Stories about residential crime, and what you can do to protect yourself, are common themes on the FrontPoint Blog – which just makes sense. For instance, we know the following:
- If you really want peace of mind, you are better far off with a monitored alarm system than without one.
- Cellular monitoring is safer – in fact, it’s the only way to go.
- Never confront a burglar if you can help it. In fact, that’s one very good reason to have an alarm system in the first place.
When possible, I also like to reference the considered advice and opinion of folks I respect, such as law enforcement and other credible sources. And I recently found a set of valuable home safety tips from just such a source: the Electronic Security Association (ESA).
A special report from the U.S. Department of Justice estimated that 3.7 million household burglaries occurred each year between 2003 and 2007. But even more troubling was the finding that a household member was present during approximately one million burglaries, with an average of 266,650 becoming victims of violent burglaries in their homes.
With violent intrusions accounting for more than seven percent of all home burglaries, it’s a legitimate fear for homeowners. To help homeowners stay safe during a burglary, the Electronic Security Association offers these tips.
What to Do If You Suspect an Intrusion
- Should you suspect someone has entered your home, it’s important to act quickly. First and foremost, do not attempt to apprehend the burglar yourself. If you’re near your home security system, press the emergency alarm to notify your alarm monitoring company that you require immediate assistance. If you are not close to the alarm panel or your home isn’t equipped with a monitored system, everyone in the home should immediately, and quietly, move to a pre-arranged safe place.
- A neighbor’s home is an ideal safe place – but only if you are able to exit inconspicuously. If you’re on an upper level or cannot leave without encountering the burglar, grab your cell phone and quietly get your family into a hiding spot such as a closet or crawl space. Once your family is in place, call 911 and keep the operator on the line. Stay quiet in the safe space until police arrive or until you are certain the assailant has left your home.
What to Do If You Encounter a Burglar
- Should you be discovered by the burglar before getting to a safe place, don’t panic or make any sudden movements. Avoid looking the intruder in the eyes, as he or she may interpret it as an act of aggression. Keep your hands at shoulder-level and visible to the criminal. Comply with demands and allow the burglar to leave with your possessions – nothing is worth losing your life.
- In a life-threatening situation, try to escape before resorting to violence, because the burglar usually has the upper hand in these situations. Additionally, attract attention by screaming or making loud noises, but no matter what, never agree to go to another location with the burglar. It is likely the assailant will take you to an isolated location where you will be unable to escape or call for help.
- If you’re face-to-face with the burglar, take mental notes of his or her physical appearance (height, build, hair, eye color, ethnicity, distinct markings) and mannerisms (accent, walking style) so that you can give a description to police.
What You Can Do to Prevent a Burglary
- An alarm system is your first line of defense against burglary at your home, and can summon help in times of distress. In a recent study conducted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, researchers interviewed more than 400 convicted burglars and found that almost 60 percent of the incarcerated burglars indicated a home with an alarm system would cause them to seek an alternative target.
- In fact, an alarm system can have a blanket effect for your neighborhood. A 2009 study conducted by Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice found that neighborhoods in which security systems were densely installed have fewer incidents of burglary than neighborhoods with fewer systems.
- To ensure you can rely on your security system, it’s important to select a trustworthy home security provider. Companies that are members of ESA are among the most credible installers in the country and must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.
Knowing what to do during a home intrusion is vital to the safety of your family. By installing a home security system, you could avoid a frightening and potentially life-threatening home burglary.
We agree 100 percent with all the advice offered above. And yes, FrontPoint has been a proud member of the ESA since our inception seven years ago.
The fact is that only about 20 percent of US homes do have a monitored alarm system that can trigger a police dispatch. Imagine how much safer you would feel in your home, or when entering your home at any time of day or night, without worrying. And with interactive monitoring services, in addition to police dispatching you can also receive a text or email any time a door opens, telling you which door. That’s the kind of protection more people are looking for today, as home intrusion statistics continue to get worse across much of the US.
A monitored home alarm system can absolutely help to prevent these confrontations in the first place. And that’s where FrontPoint comes in: we’re the leader in wireless home security, as well as the No. 1 ranked home alarm company in the US. When you’re ready for a home alarm that’s safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, you’re ready for FrontPoint: no hidden fees, the best interactive, wireless home alarm technology at the best price, and world-class service. With a burglary occurring every 14 seconds in the U.S., there are still lots of homes – and homeowners – left for us to protect.