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Advice on Home invasion prevention

Invasion into your home that you believe to be your sanctuary is one of the most intimidating experiences that you may have. There may be different kinds of invaders, ranging from friends or church missionaries to street gangs. For the purpose of this article we will focus on invasions that are criminal. There is virtually nothing you can do against invasion that is conducted by government bodies, so we leave this type of invasion for better times to discuss.

Most sources you will find, discuss the ways you should respond when becoming a victim of home invasion. At the end of their recommendations, there usually is a conclusion that you can not foresee the development of a particular crime, hence there is no definite advice can be given on what to do. More over, under current NZ law you may not defend your property by hurting the offender, so, basically you have to risk your life holding him, which is hardly possible taking into account the offender's average size and motivation to escape.
Here we will give you advice how to prevent invasion from happening.

There are many reasons why a person or group of people would enter your home against your will while you are inside, the main ones being Robbery and Assault.

Be it possessions or individuals that are the target of the invasion, the invasion itself is always the victim's fault to some degree. Leaving along the consequences of allowing the society to be as it is, the main faults would be:
  • Ignorance of the darker side of the life. If you follow the criminal chronics, you can see that there are 2 categories of victims, the ones that are asking for trouble, and the ones that live as if nothing bad can happen to them. The ones that take care are usually not represented.
  • Crime-inviting design of the section and the house.
  • Displays of personal vulnerability like no physically fit or armed people in sight.
  • Displays that may inspire criminal desires like theft, rape, etc. Person is unlikely to desire what he does not see!
  • Participation in a conflict where your address may be easily obtained. This includes conflicts with your street gang, road rage incidents (NZ LTSA records can be easily obtained). Gang members may feel obliged to pay you a visit if you cut their way.
  • Creating an impression that the property is unattended. This is a common way in which theft becomes a robbery.
It is really up to the occupants of the home to make it a safer place to live and leave all the troubles beyond the fence.

Stay alert

Generally, the society is designed the way that a crime should not deliver a return of investment (ROI). But there are experienced criminals on the loose, as well as those who do not recognize the danger. The latter category does provide living for the first one, and just being alert already deters criminals' attention. If they can't take you by surprise, they switch to another target (of course if you did not make the matter personal). But even if it is personal, the alertness gives you a significant advantage anyway.

Home security design

Here we enter a warfare domain! Fortifications on your section and in your house? Remember that New Zealand housing developed under conditions of low crime levels. The houses are not designed to prevent invasion of even a child! And what is the situation now?
Average drug addict needs more than $1000 a day! Their thirst is so great that they can't be expected to be reasonable at all. They will just break in and do whatever it takes to get enough to pay for their daily dose! And they multiply with the rate that will soon lead to shortage of potential victims!
More robbers are switching from now better-protected business targets to softer residential targets.

Fortunately, even living in NZ house, there are design principles that help you secure yourself.

On the eve of the WWII, the French built the famous Maginot Line. It is famous because it was built as an impenetrable defense, but had been the only real defense measure in place and left French defenseless when bypassed.

The arts of warfare and computer security teach us that there should be multiple lines of defense, that provide to the defendants with time to respond to the intrusion while being protected by inner lines of defense. While it is usually impractical to replace a crowbar-penetrable regular NZ dwelling with a concrete structure, additional defense lines can be built at a fraction of the cost of a new building. Also, keep in mind that you are not always inside of your house. We spend a significant amount of time wandering around our sections!

Inviting a trouble

Brains of professional criminals and amateurs alike are constantly scanning the environment for signs of vulnerabilities or objects of desire. Such signs, if strong enough, may actually become a primer for a criminal career! Please do not encourage the crime! If you have to display something that may be desired, this should always come with a strong message that this can't be taken!

"Revenge is a dish best served cold" - Kill Bill movie

In fact, the reason for a delayed visit to your home may not only be revenge, but also things like forcing you to pay for damages or eliminating you as a witness. The best solution would be not to get involved into these kinds of situations, or go undetected (see "Stay alert" above). If you have managed to become involved (and who is insured from this?), you need a good security design to keep you protected before the police arrive (if they are not too busy). The offenders will be very determined to get you!

Do not force thieves to become robbers

There are a much greater number of thieves around, than the ones who have the guts to rob. But if the thief breaks into your home just to discover that it is attended, the situation becomes difficult for both parties. You do not really want the thief to think that it is more beneficial to eliminate the witness. Make it clear to them that your home is occupied. You may want not to do that when someone looks from the street, but definitely there should be some indication of presence and possible confrontation after the first line of defense is breached. Once again, refer to the "Home security design".