How to Protect Your Family from a Home Invasion

by Home Defense Gun Staffer Bobhome invasion

Home Invasion – Lessons from a former Bounty Hunter

It has been said many times that bounty hunters aren’t that much different from the people they chase. Back when I was a bounty hunter I always took umbrage with that idea, but looking back on it — yeah, there are a lot of similarities. Most of these similarities stem from the fact that bounty hunters don’t have badges or uniforms, which means they have to do what they do without the general public noticing. Criminals creep around hoping no one will notice what they’re up to so no one will call the cops. Bounty hunters creep around hoping to avoid being noticed so they won’t have to spend two hours explaining to the cops what they’re up to.

The Perfect Arrest

The perfect arrest for a bounty hunter is one in which only the fugitive and the bounty hunter know what took place. As the number of people who know you made an arrest (family members, neighbors, members of law enforcement) increases, your efficiency and profit margin falls off very quickly. It really eats up a lot of the day if you have to explain over and over again why you’re out kidnapping people.

The preferred method for making a perfect arrest is pretty simple. You figure out where the fugitive sleeps, sneak in, wake them up and take them to jail. If you’re real careful about it you can even remove the fugitive without waking anyone else in the house. Naturally, this leads to bounty hunters getting pretty good at breaking into houses. Being one of the few people who knows how to be a home invader or burglar without actually having been one, I figure it can’t hurt to share a few tips on what the average person should have done to keep me out of their house or at least slow me down considerably.

House Entry

I’d love to tell you some stories about swinging around with repelling gear or crawling through air shafts, but the deadbolt locktruth is I’m not that coordinated. I like to get into a house the same way everybody else does: through the door. Obviously, I prefer it when I just turn a doorknob and it swings open. It has been my experience that about half the world leaves its front door unlocked. Even the cheapest lock will slow an intruder in a little; if nothing else the intruder has to make more noise entering. Just engaging a lock is a big step in the right direction. The addition of a dead bolt is another great idea.

Over the years my associates and I got wonderfully quick at picking standard door locks, but deadbolts were a different story. More than a few unkind words were mumbled at deadbolts as we crouched by a door looking stupid. In most instances a deadbolt meant that a more abrupt method of entry was going to be necessary.

Preventing a Break In

Okay, so what can you do to keep somebody from just kicking in your front door? The short answer is: not much, in most cases. To make a truly kick-proof door you need a steel door mounted in a steel frame with a couple of good locks. That being said, most folks would prefer not to have doors that look like the ones at the county jail. A reasonable compromise is a standard wood door with a few well spaced locks. When somebody kicks in a door they kick right where the knob is located, which breaks the relatively small lock bolt and lock plate out of the wood of the frame. If you add a deadbolt a good distance above or below the knob there are two separate points of contact with the door jam. It’s only possible to kick one of these points at any given time and this really slows down somebody trying to get in. 71BJ+T0TnEL._SL1500_

Oddly enough, one of the best locks I ever ran across was one of the hinged types that have replaced safety chains in hotel rooms. I kicked a door open with one of these locks in place but was unable to actually break the hotel lock because it was mounted up too high to kick at. The only way to unlock the thing was to stick my arm through the door, flail around until I found the lock and then try to disengage it by squishing my arm in the door to move the lock back far enough. It wasn’t my most professional moment. If I’d been a burglar instead of a bounty hunter I would have given up in shame and gone home.

 Casing the House

The way a bounty hunter goes into a house is a lot like the way home invaders enter, and bounty hunters do the same kind of homework beforehand. The good guys and the bad guys both have the same concern when it comes to forced entry — they don’t want to get shot. Whenever possible we would case a house before going into it. This might involve sitting down the street and watching for a while to learn how many people were in the house or even going so far as to spend some time peeking in the windows to see if there were a bunch of machine guns in the living room. We wanted to know who was home, if they were armed, where everybody slept and where all the exits were. That way there were no surprises, hopefully, when we rushed the place.

The point here is that if there is someone watching your house they are not there because you’ve won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. Just glancing out the window and keeping a wary eye is a great way to avoid an incident. If you see somebody doing something suspicious, call the cops. It’s not illegal to watch a house, but just having the cops sniffing around will make most crooks move along.

With the right lock that is actually locked and a little vigilance the average homeowner can slow down anyone attempting to bust into the house. In an era when more and more home invasions occur every year it’s not a bad idea to spend some time and money on preventative measures. Oh yeah, and if you’re worried about bounty hunters breaking into your house, the best prevention is to not be a bond jumper.

Let us know in the comments any suggestions you have for preventing/stopping a home invasion.


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