Property Crime is one of the most common types of crimes committed in the United States. In the state of Louisiana, property crimes comprise 152,661 of the total crimes committed. When compared with the national average, Louisiana ranks fifth for most burglaries occurring in the country. In the city of Baton Rouge, there is an average of 12,436 property crimes committed each year which means for every 1,000 residents, 56 have been victims of a robbery, theft, or violent crime related to break-ins.
Here are steps you and your family can take to protect yourselves from being victims.
How To Prevent Home Invasions
Assess Vulnerable Points of Entry
Most home invaders are opportunists looking for an easy target. Vulnerable access points include sliding glass doors, side entrances, garage entrances, and low-level windows. Keep these access points locked and reinforced at all times. For example, installing a sliding glass door security bar can significantly protect your home.
Conceal Keys & Garage Door Openers
It is a popular custom of homeowners to leave a spare key under welcome mats and in potted plants. Unfortunately, those are also common areas in which burglars search so that there are no signs of forced entry. Installing a combination lockbox will help you and your family stay safe.
Refrain from Posting on Social Media
It may seem like a common-sense move to not post travel plans on social media. Keeping mum on the details of your family vacation still may not be enough to protect you from a home invasion. Depending on the settings, your smartphone may be using its built-in GPS capability to embed your exact location into the file of photos you take using the smartphone’s camera. The process of embedding location information into photos is called geotagging. That means that when you share photos of your newly remodeled kitchen, criminals can use the geotrack to find out where you live. Here is a step-by-step guide to removing geotags from iPhone pictures.
Even the best preventative measures may not be enough to keep a criminal from breaking into your home. Here are some best practices to survive an active home invasion.
Surviving an Active Home Invasion
Be Aware of Pre-incident Indicators
Oftentimes criminals create unintended noise that can serve as a tip to you or your family members of impending violence. Unexpected noise or outside commotion provides an opportunity for you and your loved ones to move from a vulnerable position to a position of advantage. If you suspect that your home is being invaded, stay inside. This could mean the difference between life or death.
Create Distance between You and Imminent Danger
Once the perpetrator(s) are inside the home, close doors to buy time and create distance. If you own a firearm, utilize layers and angles in the home such as nooks and entryways to conceal your whereabouts while maintaining clear visuals. Assess the threat. If you have your phone with you, dial 911, but remain silent. This silent emergency call procedure could save your life.
Engage When Necessary
Once you have identified the threat, engage the perpetrator. Louisiana’s self-defense law attests that “Deadly force may be used, without an obligation to retreat, whenever a person is in imminent danger of being killed or facing great bodily harm and that deadly force is necessary to prevent the killing or serious injury.” Be sure to provide law enforcement all documents related to discharged firearms that you own.
When the Home Becomes a Crime Scene
The home is a crime scene the moment it is invaded. It may be tempting to want to clean up muddy footprints, blood, or other body fluids, but all of these are examples of elements that can aid law enforcement in the timely capture of the perpetrator if left untouched. Here are some tips to aid law enforcement and protect your assets.
If you make physical contact with the perpetrator, do not clean or touch anything on your person or in the home. Allow law enforcement and first responders to assist you in doffing your clothing. All evidence such as blood, fingerprints, weapons, and tools used to commit this crime are all part of an investigation and this is the best way to prevent delays.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Filing a claim with your insurance provider is a necessary step in being able to recoup the damages that were lost during this event. Claims adjusters will come to your home, assess the crime scene, take photographs, and provide information on remediation services. In some cases, insurance providers may cover professional crime scene cleaning services to restore the home after crime or trauma.
Reclaiming Your Home Following a Home Invasion
Crime scene investigation is a thorough and often messy process. The process of detection and collection of evidence leaves behind the chemicals and compounds necessary to identify, preserve, and obtain samples. It is the owner’s responsibility to remediate blood, tissue and body fluids that are often part of a crime scene. XTREME Cleaners’ technicians specialize in remediation services that follow OSHA regulations and safety protocols. An added benefit, our technicians are also trained by psychologists to understand the complexities of a traumatic atmosphere. Our team leader will answer any questions you may have and provide guidance to restore the property to its original, or better, condition. Do not hesitate to reach out to us in your time of need. Call (800) 524-9591.
Get Help with These Trauma Recovery Resources
Acadiana Treatment Center helps individuals struggling with trauma & PTSD build a strong foundation for long-term recovery. Serving the greater Louisiana area, Acadiana is the leading provider of trauma & PTSD treatment.
The mission of the Grief Recovery Center is to compassionately assist all those experiencing grief to move beyond the pain of loss, isolation, and loneliness through support, education, and counseling in the process of healing.
This faith-based organization offers support groups, pastoral counseling, and small classes to help those who have endured difficult situations.
This is a state-wide resource that assists crime victims. You may be eligible for crime victim compensation benefits, including reimbursement for medical services, mental health counseling, lost wages, and other costs incurred as a result of the crime. Click the link to be directed to a host of resources in your area.