The frightening thing about home invasion is that it is often motivated by a variety of criminal intentions. Usually the intention is robbery.
It is common for invaders to suddenly pull a weapon and burglarize you on the spot after impersonating a repairman, a delivery boy, salesman, policeman or an individual in the need of Good Samaritan.
In a worst case scenario the intention is rape, kidnapping, torture or terrorism. In these situations, an armed invader takes the victim by surprise simply by kicking in the door or bursting through a window. Sometimes the invasion is motivated by the desire to procure normally private information from you such as your credit card or bank account number that can later be sold or used for fraudulent purposes.
A person may invade your home for the purposes of preparing you for a future robbery by assessing your belongings and the vulnerability of entry points. Exact statistics about the number of home invasions that take place every year are not available however, it is estimated that every year that this variant of robbery accounts for 11% of incidents of theft that take place in the United States.
Home invaders use a variety of ruses to get you to open the door and let you into their house. The most common entry points are through the front door, or in the case of a surprise attack, through the homeowner's garage. Most invasions take place simply because the intruder knocked or rang the bell and the homeowner opened the door. The attack can either be swift or violent or the attacker may pretend to be someone who is ordinary or trusted by you. In some cases, victims may even receive a false phone call informing them that they are about to receive a delivery or a maintenance call from a repairman.
Common scenarios include the following situations:
* A uniformed individual tells you that they are in the area checking for a gas leak, a problem with your cable, or a problem with your telephone and request entry into your house.
* A uniformed individual informs you that they have a delivery of some sort, usually flowers, telegram or a package. Be especially suspicious if you have no reason to expect a package.
* An individual appears at your door, informing you that you have won a contest or special prize. In this case they may just collect your information.
* The individual informs you that they are collecting for a charity or some other good cause. This sometimes provides an opportunity to snatch your purse or wallet.
* A stranger claims to be in some kind of distress and asks if he or she can use your phone or your washroom.
It is important to realize usually gas, telephone, electricity and cable lines are checked from outside, not inside the home. If the person claims that they are there to enter your home and you are suspicious of the person's credentials, do not open the door and phone the company for confirmation.
Most delivery men will agree to leave the package outside your door. If they demand that you sign a form, you can once again call the company and confirm that you are about to be in receipt of a package.
In the situations where you are being asked for charity or assistance, use your better judgement. One suspicious sign may be a large van or truck, purportedly there to carry away your valuables, parked nearby on the street.
Outfit your door with a peep hole or a bolt and chain and never answer a mysterious knock by blithely just swinging the door open all the way. All repairmen and delivery people carry identification cards with photos and are instructed to humor you if you request that these be shown (even through a peephole).
If you are still not certain that their identification is legitimate, ask them to wait and call the company for verification. If the company denies their presence, immediately call the police. DO NOT LET THEM IN YOUR HOME UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
WHAT TO DO IF THE UNFORTUNATE OCCURS
If an individual successfully bluffs their way into your home you could find yourself at the mercy of weapons. In this scenario comply with their requests in order to prevent physical violence and bodily harm.
If you realize afterwards, that you may have been the victim of a home invasion, phone the originating companies or institutions (banks, credit card companies) and inform them that you may have given a criminal your personal information.
In both cases, try to give the police an accurate description of the individual and also present any documents or evidence of the intrusion that they might have left behind.
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