Did you know that 4.3% of Australian households experienced at least 1 break-in during the last 12 months? Concerningly, in 11.8% of these break-ins the victim experienced a confrontation with the perpetrator.
The risk of a home invasion is very real in Australia, particularly in the current COVID-19 era which is characterised by online orders and home deliveries coupled with commonplace mask-wearing. This means deliveries to your front door are more frequent, and masks on the men delivering them is expected, largely obscuring the identity of the men who come knocking 😷
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which looked at home burglaries from April 2020 to April 2021 shows that Australia has the 5th highest rate of burglaries in the world. In fact, in the last year, there have been more than 400,000 break-in events nationally 🤯
Of most concern to the COBRA team is the incidence of home invasion, which is when robbers force their way into an occupied home, apartment or hotel room to commit a robbery or other crime. That is why today we want to remind you that it is very important that you do NOT automatically open the front door when someone knocks! 🙅🏻
Home invasion is one of the most frightening and potentially deadly crimes. If someone forces entry into your home it is a catastrophic crisis. There is statistically a very high chance you will be harmed considerably, and even if you survive you are almost guaranteed to experience stress reactions for years. Unfortunately, many home invasions end in assault, rape or murder 😢
Home invasion robbers use extreme force to gain entry, establish control and instil fear. The greatest violence usually occurs during the initial 60 seconds and they come prepared with handcuffs, rope, duct tape, and weapons. So please, never open the door before asking who is there! Home invaders often knock on the door first or ring the bell with the hope that the resident will simply open the door, without question, and in most cases people do just that.
The most common targets of home invasion are women living alone, a wealthy senior citizen or anyone randomly picked based on the value of the car driven or the jewellery worn. Some home invaders may have been in your home before as a delivery person, installation technician or service person, others use children, posing as selling something for school to get you to open the door.
Most common scenarios to be wary of include:
🤨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 bathroom.
HOME INVASION PREVENTION TIPS
💪 If you are not expecting a visitor, do not automatically open the door! Most home invaders knock on the front door to gain entry. With the door closed and locked, ask for identification and why they are there. Then call the company to confirm the identity of the person and that the visit is legitimate. If it’s not, call the police.
💪 If someone is delivering a package to your home but you don't see an official vehicle out front, do not open the door. Don't even acknowledge that you're home. This is particularly true if you're a woman home alone! You don't need to open the door or to even answer it at all. Don't let them persuade you that you need to sign for the package, or it's going to be a big problem. Just don't open the door.
💪 Lock all doors, windows, and garages at all times, even when you are home. Harden and secure your home with strong doors and locks. Don’t rely on door chains to keep intruders out; they won’t.
💪 All exterior doors should be solid-core wood, steel or fiberglass and the hinges must be on the inside. Use doors that feature wide-angle peepholes at heights everyone can use. Secure sliding glass doors. Install vertical bolts to prevent forced entry or lifting it off the track.
💪 Keep the perimeter of your home well lit. Low voltage outdoor lighting discourages intruders.
💪 Install and USE a professionally installed home security system. If you have an alarm system in your home, activate the perimeter doors and windows while you are in the home. Home invasion robbers know most homeowners do not arm their system when they are home. Don’t make that critical mistake.
💪 Don’t hide a key on your property, criminals will find them, no matter how clever you think we are.
💪 Store jewellery, large amounts of cash and other valuables in a safe, safety deposit box or somewhere secure away from your property.
💪 Automatic phone diallers that can call 000, in speakerphone mode, can be effective in getting police assistance if intruders come in. Every home phone should be pre-programmed with this feature and all family members should be trained on how to use it. When intruders come in you will not have much time to contact police.
💪 Never stop thinking if you are held captive. Stay calm and take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves.
💪 Report all suspicious activity to police. If you see something out of the ordinary, call. You are not bothering them.
💪 Don’t fight over property with an intruder. Let them have the property; it is not worth your life and can be replaced. Never follow the intruder from scene, call 000 immediately and get the best description you can get
💪 The best defence against home invasion is education and planning; have a family meeting to discuss your home security plans. Have an escape plan in mind. Train family members on where to go and what to say. This plan should include your children. If someone can escape, the invaders will have lost their advantage of privacy and time.
💪 The best defence against assault from home invasion is, again, education and preparation. Be sure to arm yourself with essential self defence skills and knowledge (follow us at COBRA Sunshine Coast, attend a COBRA Self Defence course and keep yourself physically fit)
IF YOU ARE CONFRONTED BY HOME INVASION ROBBERS:
👉 Stay calm.
👉 Cooperate. There is no amount of money or property worth getting hurt or losing your life over.
👉 If they are simply robbing you, don’t fight back. Instead, concentrate on getting information so you can be an effective witness.
👉 If they are physically assaulting you, fight back hard and fast!
👉 Look carefully at the intruders, even if they are masked. Is there something unique about them such as scars, tattoos, eye colour, accents, large or small facial features such as nose or ears?
Raise your sense of awareness and don’t become a victim. SAFETY FIRST, SAFETY ALWAYS!!!