According to the FBI, a home burglary takes place every 15 seconds in America, a forcible rape every 2 minutes, and a murder every 31 minutes. Home invasions are a variation on the “normal” home burglary, a variation that can involve assault and murder. Home invaders want to confront you in your home, its part of their terrible plan.
In 1959, two sociopaths named Richard Hickock and Terry Smith broke into the Clutter family home in rural Kansas. Their subsequent brutal murder of the four members of this family became the basis of Truman Capote’s bestselling novel, In Cold Blood. On January 1, 2006, two murdering psychopaths, Ray Dandridge and Ricky committed four of the seven murders they would commit that month, this by breaking into the Richmond, VA home of Bryan and Kathy Harvey. Here they murdered the two adults and their 4 and 9 year old daughters and attempted to set the home ablaze, all for less than $1,000 in goods. Jurors in Connecticut will soon consider the fate of two other cold blooded psychopaths, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky. Both were released from prison in 2007 and shortly thereafter followed the wife and two daughters of a local doctor, William Petit, home from a local store. The pair then broke into the Petit home, beat the father with a ball bat, forced his wife to withdraw $15,000 from a local bank, and then raped and murdered the woman and her two daughters, setting the victims and their home on fire as they fled the scene. Also in 2007 Sean Taylor, a professional football player with the Washington redskins, was murdered in a night time home invasion of his Miami residence. In July 2009 a group of seven men and a woman invaded the Florida home of Byrd and Melanie Billings, a couple who had adopted 13 disabled children. The invaders believed they would find a safe full of money in the home and murdered both adults as 8 children slept in nearby bedrooms, all in a vain attempt to break into the safe.
Home Invader Motivation
Some home invaders are simply motivated by money or material possessions and break into your home to force you to give these things up to them. They will usually take what they can get and run, hopefully not resorting to violence against you or your family.
Some invaders, however, want more than your money; they want to commit acts of violence against you and your family. They want your possessions, but they also enjoy hurting people. For them, it’s all about power and control. They will do whatever they want to get their thrill from their confrontation with you.
A third group of invaders are there for the “thrill” of violence. They want what means the most to you – the lives of your family. They are there to torture, rape and murder with money being a far distant secondary motivation.
Lastly, some home invaders come after you as part of a so-called “Tiger Kidnapping,” suggesting the stalking-like preparation that such groups take. They break into your home to take a family member hostage to force him or her (e.g., a bank employee) to take money from their company to ransom the lives of their family members. Remember a psychopath or sociopath can and does lie with ease. Never trust him to keep his word when your very life depends on it.
Van Zandt Associates offers our clients a seminar designed to help you prevent and/or survive a home invasion. As part of our seminars, we offer the following information:
- Lock all the doors in your residence, including keeping your garage door down and locked.
- Use motion detector lights around your home to deny anyone the ability to roam your lot undetected.
- Install a home alarm system and be sure to activate it when appropriate. Consider a system that alerts you to a vehicle entering your property such as can be found at www.dingdong.com, or a Blackberry or iPhone application that can call for assistance such as can be found at www.silentbodguard.com.
- Do not open your door to anyone you do not know and use a peep hole in your front door to determine who is on the other side.
- Have a family home invasion plan, like your fire escape plan, that tells every family member what to do in case of the unthinkable.
- Don’t panic and keep your wits about you. You and your family’s survival depends on it!
- Insure that every member of your family knows to escape and call police at the first opportunity they have and never let an assailant take you to a second location where you will almost surely be assaulted or worse.
- If trapped in your home, hopefully you have a safe room, like a well-built closet with a lock on the inside of the door and remember to take your phone with you to call 911. You can also set off your home security and/or car alarm to alert neighbors of your plight.
- If you must fight for your life, hit the intruder fast, hard and as many times as you can, using anything you can find as a weapon.
- Lastly, remember nothing you own, possess or have access to is more important than the lives of your family members and yourself.
In a recent episode of Spike TV’s “Surviving Disaster,” former FBI Criminal Profiler and Hostage Negotiator Clint Van Zandt joins with a US Navy SEAL to show how to prevent, survive and escape from a home invasion (www.spike.com/full-episode/home-invasion/333895).
For more information concerning personal and family safety and security, to obtain a free copy of our DVD "Protecting Children from Predators," to find out the identity and location of sex offenders in your community, and to learn how to get our new and free iPhone and iPod and Blackberry application, "Silent Bodyguard," that with just one-button allows you to send both a personal distress message and transmits your exact GPS coordinates every 60 seconds, go to www.LiveSecure.org.