How to survive a home invasion: a practical guide

A little while ago, the police released this video of a home invasion in Milburn, New Jersey. It shows a man brutally attacking a woman in her home in front of her three year old daughter and with her one-year old daughter upstairs. This footage is explicit and acts as a reminder of something I’ve written about often: only you can protect yourself when violence comes your way. To do that, it is important to have practical information and that’s why I wrote this “How to survive a home invasion” article.

This topic is disturbing for many people because first of all, they rarely (if ever) come into contact with violence. It’s just not a part of their lives and they no longer have the knowledge or skills to handle it. But more importantly, this is a scary topic. Not only does the invader come into your house, he also threatens you or actually does harm you. At worst, he takes your life or that of one of your loved ones.

It’s human nature to want to stick your head in the sand and pretend this problem doesn’t exist. Human nature, yes, but it doesn’t help you survive a home invasion. So the first step in securing your home is accepting that bad things can happen to you there. If you can accept that at a gut level, you’ve taken the first step towards a solution.

Before we go on, take a look at this video so the rest will make more sense. It is explicit and not suitable for work or children.


They caught the bastard, so there is some good news here but even though this is a graphic example of a home invasion, it isn’t the worst one that ever happened. Some are less violent than this one but others are much worse. Please read this last sentence again. It illustrates one of the fundamental aspects of violence:

It’s unpredictable.

Sure, there are patterns to recognize and predictions you can make but when that thug enters your home, you don’t know what he’s going to do to you. Nor do you know how he will react to whatever you decide to do. Or how far he’s willing to go to get what he wants.

You just don’t know.

You can’t know.

If you can’t know how it will play out, then I believe it is only sensible to gather as much information as possible, think it through, talk to experts in various fields and form your own conclusions. You might decide that some of the advice I give here below doesn’t apply to you. Or you might tweak it a bit to fit your specific situation. Either way, you can only get to that conclusion if you do some serious studying of the problem so you can decide on a reasoned and thoughtful course of action.

So by all means, don’t look at what I write here as a definitive guide on to how to survive a home invasion. Instead, consider it more as a source of information to get you started on keeping yourself and your loved ones safe in your own home. [Read more…]