‘Youths rush in;’ How did that Happen?

Three stories today, from Scarborough, Ontario; West Valley City, Utah and Laveen, Arizona. They’re all remarkably similar: a gang of young men rush in to a home and surprise the occupants in the middle of the night.

Here are the descriptive paragraphs, first Scarborough:

Toronto police are looking for five male suspects in connection with an armed home invasion in Scarborough early Thursday morning.

Police say they were called to a home on Caddy Drive, near Lawrence Avenue and Scarborough Golf Club Road, around 12:50 a.m. When they arrived, they found two victims in their 20s – a man with minor injuries and a woman who was not hurt in the incident.

Now, West Valley City, Utah:

Police arrested two men Wednesday who they say broke into a home with guns and baseball bats.

Around 3 a.m., West Valley police responded to a call reporting that three men with their faces covered came into their home near 3200 South and 3800 West carrying baseball bats and guns.

And Laveen, Arizona:

SkyFox was over the scene where seven people woke up to find two suspects in their home, dressed in black from head to toe.

There were four children in the home; 3 of them were young at the time of the home invasion.

MCSO said all were inside the home when armed men burst in between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday.

There are plenty of odd things about these three stories. The first is that whatever kind of door, or door locks, these individuals had on their doors, they were totally inadequate. A solid wood door with a deadbolt into an anti-kick strip will not simply collapse when kicked. You have to smash the door with repeated, heavy blows to make any dint in a secure exterior door.

Secondly, these folks clearly didn’t have a security doorstop to stop entry once the latch and lock were smashed.
Thirdly, they didn’t have an interior security gate, something my book Home Invasion Prevention explains in detail.
Fourthly they didn’t have a dog, or a gun, or both. Or pepper spray. Or a panic alarm. Or a lock on the bedroom door.
Indeed, like most people they just went to bed and got surprised.
If you buy my book, this won’t happen to you. Innocent, or guilty, you’ll be safe and secure while the home invaders who targeted you will be in deep, deep trouble.

New Orleans but an Old Type of Home Invasion

New Orleans may be the big easy, but not for a 75-year-old Irish Channel resident was robbed at gunpoint by two men who broke into his home yesterday evening.

The Uptown Messenger reported the attack only took two minutes:

The victim was at his home in the 700 block of Eighth Street (between Chippewa and Annunciation) around 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, when his back door was kicked open and two men burst in, he said. One of them had a gun and said, “Give me everything you’ve got,” the victim said. When he did what they told him, they fled out the front door, he said.

This is the “Force” type of home invasion using one of the two most common entry points, the rear door.

The solution is to beef up all exterior doors with metal framing, solid wood, anti-kick strips and the like. It makes sense to spend money on entrances because attackers most often use doors as their means of ingress.

If you don’t believe me, ask any 18-year old of your acquaintance to kick in your door and use a stop watch to see how long it takes him.

This, and a lot more useful tips and explanations, are in my book, Home Invasion Prevention available in print or download at Lulu.com (and at Amazon.com).

Common Types of Home Invasions

There are five types of home invasions of which three are by far the most common. These are Force, Deception, and Stealth. A person who is aware of how these play out will be far better prepared to meet them if they occur.

The Force type is the most frightening and the simplest. The home invader approaches the front or side door and simply kicks the door open. Most doors, even those with metal cladding and a properly installed dead bolt, will give way almost immediately.

The Deception Type is where the home invader approaches the front door and poses as someone wanting assistance; to use the phone or the bathroom or to get away from an attacker. The individual may be a young woman looking disheveled and panicky. You open the door and her accomplice, waiting around the corner, pounces.

The Stealth attack starts like a traditional burglary where the home invader enters quietly through an open window or after defeating a door lock. He then darts through the house and confronts the homeowners in another room, usually the bedroom.

There are two other, rare, techniques as well, but these are the three you can expect.

My book, Home Invasion Prevention, explains how to counter all five attacks leaving you and your loved ones safe and unharmed.

You won’t find this information anywhere else; I know I’ve looked.

Gunmen Looking for Grow-op Enter Wrong Home

Here’s a home invasion story ripped from today’s paper. A university student in her early 20’s was at her home in Kelowna, BC when she heard a knock at the door. Thinking it was her boyfriend, who’d been working late, she opened the door to find she was facing two armed men. They shoved her backward and commanded her to get down.

This began a terrifying ordeal while the men searched the house for a grow-operation they wanted to rob. There was no grow-op; they had the wrong house.

The woman, who was repeatedly threatened with death, eventually escaped, fled down the street and flagged a cab. Police were called; a sniffer dog took up the scent and the two men were discovered and arrested.

So we have a happy story, sort of, because this is how the woman recalled it in her victim statement:

“I have felt helpless and angry, wanting to die at times. It was really difficult for me to concentrate on work after the crime and to not work for six months following the event.”

In other words, the trauma lasted a lot longer than the incident. Note, the women said she felt “helpless” and “angry.”

This, of course, was one of the three most typical types of home invasion; a push-in attack. The solution to it is a security doorstop that allows you to open the door partway to see who’s there.

All this is described in detail in my book, Home Invasion Prevention. The story of the Kelowna woman, sadly, is just another example of why you need to take precautions.

Lessons from the Russell Williams Case

Russell Williams is the former Canadian Air Force Colonel who lived a double life as a serial panty thief, rapist and murderer. It’s such a bizarre and horrifying case, little attention has been paid to how Williams managed to enter the homes of the women he stole from and terrorized.

I’ll be writing a chapter in the new edition of Home Invasion Prevention devoted exclusively to answering the question: how did he do it?

The short answer is that in most cases, his victims left windows, doors and patio doors open. In others, Williams removed external fly screens and climbed in ground floor or basement windows.

In a few cases, Williams used skills he developed as a teenager to pick the locks of targeted victims.

Frankly, I was astounded at how easy his break-ins were. It never occurred to me that anyone would leave a ground floor window open and rely on a fly screen for protection. Secondly it seemed extremely unlikely anyone these days still leaves his front or back door unlocked.

Williams proved me wrong. Based on this case, here are my (rather simple) suggestions:

  1. Close and lock all ground floor windows and doors.
  2. Place bars on all basement windows to prevent physical access.
  3. Replace consumer grade deadbolts in your exterior doors with commercial grade, unpickable cylinders.

 

Had the victims in the Russell Williams case taken these three steps, they would be alive today.

There’s more, of course, including the fact all four of his rape and murder victims were women living alone in detached, rural, homes, that none of them had functioning alarm systems and that no one locked their bedroom door.

The Principles of Protection

In the First World War, both sides developed lines of trenches stretching from the Channel to Switzerland. There was the front line trench with firing positions protected by yards of barbed wire. Then several hundred yards back, there was a secondary trench and further back, yet a third trench.

The idea was that if the enemy overran your first line of defence you could retreat to your second, and if the second, to the third. Even if all three lines were overrun, there were still options if you held the ends of the overrun lines. These could then be used in a pincer attack on the flank of the now exposed attackers.

Too much history? Well, consider what was going on in principle. The idea was that you assumed failure and made a series of contingency plans.

The same is true of a well thought out system of home security. There should be the first line; the exterior shell of the house, the front door, the downstairs windows. Then there should be a second line; an interior security gate or door. And finally there should be a third line; your bedroom door.

Most home security systems concentrate on the first, and most obvious, line of defence. You need to do better. You need to think through an attack in far more detail. You need a response for every failure in home security.

This blog, and my book, Home Invasion Prevention, will show you how to accomplish that goal.

Does this sound like too much trouble? Then, do nothing; you’ll have plenty of company, believe me. But if it doesn’t, then start now by buying my book, reading it, and taking the measures it recommends.

Yes, It Can Happen to You

Home invasions are happening every day and every night across North America. People who never ever thought they’d become crime victims are shocked and horrified to find they’ve been targeted. Rich or poor, famous or unknown, it doesn’t matter; someone or some people may decide tonight to break-in to your home, rape you and kill you.

home invasion cover

Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it right now, even if it’s 10:30 at night and the only tool you have is a screwdriver. Go and change the door latch from your bathroom with the one from your bedroom. After you do this, lock the latch. As silly as it sounds, people have saved their lives with a bathroom lock

The second thing is to place your car key fob beside your bed. Check to see if it’s close enough to your parked car to trigger the vehicle’s horn. If it is, and it should be, turn it off. Now phone your nearest neighbour and ask her if she heard it. If she did, tell her to phone the police if she ever hears it again go off for more than 30 seconds. Say you’ll explain in the morning.

Now go to sleep. You’ve done more in 20 minutes than most people do in a lifetime. You’ve become a survivor in this world, not a victim.

There’s a lot more, of course. In fact, I’ve written a book about it called Home Invasion Prevention you can buy from Lulu.com, in print or on-line.  I’ll be telling more about the book on this blog, and commenting on current home invasion crimes, in the months ahead.

You’ll be glad to stopped by this site. It could save your life.