One of our biggest concerns is how to react when an intruder (or intruders) enters our home at night. Anytime a home is broken into all of its occupants are potentially in danger, and anyone brazen enough to do that is capable of more serious crimes.

I have raided homes and apartments to execute warrants and make arrests. It does not take long to break into a dwelling and capture the occupants before they even have time to resist. Trust me, any intruder or home-invasion team willing to use violence will be hard to stop, unless you live every day prepared for the possibility. Even trained and prepared individuals will have their hands full, whether dealing with an aggressive group or a quieter nighttime burglar.

When you develop your home-defense plan you need to conduct a threat assessment that includes local intelligence information, which you can obtain from media sources, homeowner associations and law enforcement agencies. Look for published reports of burglaries and home invasions that have occurred in your immediate and surrounding areas to learn about crime trends in your community. Remember, anything can happen in any place and at any time, even in affluent neighborhoods. Also conduct periodic perimeter checks of your home to ensure your windows and doors are secured. If you are legally armed, also plan which firearms you’ll use for home defense and where you’ll keep those firearms so they can be immediately accessed in an emergency.

Don’t Go Rambo

Just because you own a firearm and a flashlight does not make you capable of dealing with an assailant like SWAT officers and special forces units do. Law enforcement and military personnel who are properly trained to “slice the pie” will search and clear every room in a house with tremendous precision, in a slow and methodical or dynamic fashion. In contrast, the average homeowner has never tangled with armed or unarmed criminals and will find it a bit difficult to confront a home intruder, especially if that intruder fights back.

There is no guarantee that an untrained homeowner will enter into harm’s way in a tactically correct fashion. The last thing that you should do is, with firearm in hand, leave the relative safety of your bedroom to make your way through a dark house, only to risk bumping into an intruder. Worse yet, suppose as you pass by an open door the intruder reaches out and grabs the barrel of your gun. Now what?

I don’t intend to sound negative. But it takes more than basic firearms training to be truly prepared for a confrontation with an intruder in the confines of your home. Federal, state and local law enforcement officers currently receive approximately 20 weeks of intensive basic training to become certified to carry firearms and make arrests. On average, basic law enforcement training academy recruits fire approximately 2,000 rounds of ammunition. Law enforcement recruits also train to go hands-on and use different levels of force. When was the last time you participated in 20 weeks of paramilitary training? If this isn’t enough, law enforcement officers also are required to pass a field-training period and will take in-service and advanced training classes throughout their careers.

While it is true that some untrained citizens have distinguished themselves during certain enforcement actions, most risk their lives by trying to perform a potentially dangerous task that may even be challenging for law enforcement and military personnel. If you are smart but lack the proper training, err on the side of caution and stay put until the armed professionals arrive.

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