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How an Attempted Home Invasion Turned Me into a Prepper

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In today’s post we’re going to be discussing something a little more personal to me. Everyone has their story about how they got into prepping and today I wanted to share an incident that occurred several years ago that opened the doors to prepping and helped start me down the road to a preparedness lifestyle.

Before we start, I wanted to throw some numbers out there that will hopefully get you thinking a little more about home security. According to numbers published by the FBI, over 6,000 break-ins occur every single day in America. As we edge our way even closer to economic collapse or any other number of large-scale disasters, that statistic is only going to multiply. It’s important that you take steps now to avoid a potentially deadly home security disaster, before it’s too late.

 

It really can happen to you

Home security was actually the springboard that brought this author into the preparedness lifestyle to begin with. Several years ago, I was home alone with my two small children. As a newly divorced single dad, these nights were fairly common, and until one November evening, I don’t think I really paid a whole lot of attention to home security. I kind of had the same mindset far too many people today have and thought “It’s not going to happen to me” and was truly ignorant to the idea that someone could quite easily break into my home, whether I was home or not.

I was watching TV, ready to go to bed, when all of a sudden I heard banging on my door… not knocking, Banging. Over a dozen loud thuds on my door and all I could do was sit there, staring literally paralyzed with indecision (and I’ll admit it…fear) on what to do. It was late at night and there was literally no reason why someone should be at my door, let alone banging loudly on it with their fists repeatedly. After about 10 seconds of this, the would-be intruder began trying the door handle attempting to get in.

Thankfully I did at least remember to lock both the door and deadbolt that night, which was good because within a minute of all this starting, the man decided to try to kick down my door. I was able to get over my shock quickly enough to realize that my standard discount door from Lowes was probably not going to hold up against this guy for long. I rushed to the door, grabbing a large kitchen knife and my cell phone along the way, propped my back against the door and pushed on it as hard as I could while trying to call 911 at the same time. All I could think about was my 2 sleeping children (yes surprisingly they slept through the whole ordeal) and how completely helpless I realistically was to defend them if this bad situation turned worse and the guy actually got in.

Well, to make a long story short, the man left after a few more minutes of banging, kicking and screaming on my door and was found within a few minutes passed out on the porch of another house down the street where he’d attempted the same thing. The man was nearly 7 foot tall and looked like he ate people like me for breakfast. According to the police he was also a known drug addict and had a rap sheet a mile long that included numerous incidents of assault, drug charges, home invasion and theft. The police officer that took my statement said I was very lucky that the man didn’t get inside as he was obviously intoxicated on hard drugs and had a history of violent crime.

That day was the day I decided that I needed to take responsibility of some portion of my own security. Even though the police response time wasn’t horrible (about 15 minutes from the time I called 911) that is far too long to have to wait in a situation where seconds really do count. Shortly after this incident I discovered some great preparedness communities and finally had my wake-up call that brought me head-first into prepping and living a preparedness lifestyle.

 

Lessons learned and how I prepared for another break-in

There were several lessons that I took away from this encounter. First, the door in this story was trashed by this guys’ handiwork. Instead of replacing it with another Lowe’s clearance special door and handle, I bought a much stronger steel door with reinforced guard plates. I also purchased much longer screws to secure the door hinges and bolt plate to the rest of the frame.

One of the biggest mistakes I made the night of the attempted break in was thinking that somehow I’d be able to defend myself with a knife against a man twice my size and obviously intoxicated on some serious drugs. Looking back at what I would have faced had the guy gotten in, yeah that kitchen knife was a joke. It would have been next to worthless, especially considering id had no formal knife training or practice using it. The incident opened my eyes about the need for firearms for home defense and the training needed to be proficient with them.

The incident also taught me some lessons about priorities. I was very lucky that the man wasn’t armed. That cheap door would have been no match for even a small caliber bullet. While it was true that the door most likely would have been kicked down had I not been physically bracing it with my body, doing that was incredibly risky. One round fired at the base of the door could have done me in. Had the man actually gotten in, I would have been off my feet and most likely dealing with a broken door on top of me, not exactly the most tactical of positions to be in.

The incident taught me that I needed a plan. Over the next few weeks I developed a systematic approach to home security and break-ins. I wrote out (and practiced) step by step procedures for how to react to a situation similar to this which included detailed line of fire positioning, effective communications (911) and safe room fallback procedures where I could effectively hide and defend my children if needed to. I made sure to strengthen the door to my children’s room so that it would be a secondary deterrent to buy me more time to hide them and prepare myself for a direct confrontation.

Lastly, this confrontation was actually the wakeup call I needed to start asking questions. I wanted to know how much crime was actually in my area. I had always thought that my neighborhood wasn’t the best but certainly wasn’t “bad” by any means. Well, after researching the amount of and type of crimes within a few blocks of my house, I found that not only was my area not nearly as safe as I thought it was, but I was actually shocked at the amount of break-ins and reports of violent crimes that had been reported in my direct AO. Another long story short, I began looking for another place to live and used those resources during that process to ensure that the area I moved to was safe.

 

Here are some links to some great projects and tips for home security.

15 DIY Home Security Projects

4 Ways to Burglarproof Your Doors

The Deadbolt Strike Plate

Window Security Films

There were several other factors that eventually lead me into becoming a dedicated prepper, but the attempted break-in was the catalyst that started me on that path. I believe home security is one of, if not the most important aspect of preparedness. I urge everyone to take some time in the next coming days to really think about the weak points of your homes and make plans to do something about them. You never know, those couple days of planning could be the difference between life and death if you ever find yourself in a similar disaster scenario.

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5 comments

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  1. Badger359

    Good article and personal story. I like these.

  2. Lewis

    Thank you for the article, it is a perfect reason for all to start prepping. In some way we started many years ago. Living outside of town with children was a very good reason, regardless of the crime rate, it seems there is always somebody looking for something free.

  3. Melissa

    Thank you for sharing your story. I see a lot of people who prep because that is what their church teaches or it was how they we brought up, I always wonder about everyone else 🙂 for me it was my hubby (then fiancé) losing his job. We had a 5 year old, 1 year old and I was 6 months pregnant with #3. We lost out home and almost everything we owned in the end between what we couldn’t afford to keep, and what we were forced to sell. It took 3 months for him to find another job and in the mean time we were forced to stay with a friend. I vowed it would never happen to us again. In this economy job security is pretty slim so I wanted my family to still be taken care of if we were ever in the same situation again. I know that if nothing else we can withstand a few months without any income or very little income. And we have provisions to last for quite a while after that until we are back on our feet. Funny thing is that was 6 years ago and I had never heard the term Prepper until about a year ago when I was looking up candle making on Pinterest!

  4. Justin

    Great article.

    I think no matter what you do people are always susceptible to a break in. Sure, you can greatly decrease the odds, but the chances are still there. With that said, I try to keep a weapon in arms reach both upstairs and downstairs. I’ve seen some demos of those fire extinguisher sized pepper spray cannons, I mounted one behind our coatrack by the front door. Of course, can’t go wrong with a baseball bat either. However, that is more or less for potential daytime intruders.

    After dark, anything suspicious prompts me to go for the .38 downstairs or the 9mm upstairs. Better safe than sorry.

  5. turbo 6

    It sure puts things in perspective when it happens to you.

    I’ve had the unfortunate luck of experiencing 3 near break ins all while I was home. Much like you, I had a guy attempt to break my door down late at night. Though instead of a kitchen knife, I had a decent pocket knife but still I would rather not engage in close combat in that manner.

    Another time was during the day, at the sliding glass door out back of my house. I don’t think he expected anyone to be home, so when we saw each other we we’re both spooked. The final time was probably about 3 am one morning, the guy tried to enter through a window. My dog started barking like crazy and he fled.

    Keep in mind, this was 3 different places in two different states. It can happen, and everyone should be prepared.

    Invest in good security, get a dog that doesn’t bark at everything, but is keen to let you know when a stranger is close to your house. Work on a plan with your family. Also, keep weapons secured, but available when needed. Be aware this isn’t just a bump in the night type thing – people may attempt to knock on your door in broad daylight posing as a delivery man to gain entry. Be safe.

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