wikiHow to Defend Your Property Against an Intruder

Three Methods:Defending Your Property with ForceUsing Animals to Protect Your PropertyInstalling and Maintaining an Effective Security System

If your home is at-risk for intrusion and you fear for your safety and the safety of your family, you need to know how to defend yourself and your property against possible intruders. If an intruder does find his or her way into your property, you need to know how you can legally defend yourself and your family through the use of force (e.g., hand-to-hand combat, pepper spray, tasers, firearms). If you have a little more time to prepare, consider purchasing and training a guard dog to protect you and your family. In an ideal world, you will also work to install and maintain an effective security system (e.g., alarms, cameras, signs, and fences). All of these methods can be used to defend your property against an intruder.

Method 1
Defending Your Property with Force

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    Have an emergency plan in place. If something does happen and an intruder gets into your property, you want to make sure you and your family have a plan. If you do not have a professional security system, you might need to call 911 yourself. In addition to calling law enforcement, everyone in your family should have a planned escape route and rendezvous point where everyone can meet after getting out of the home. You should always get out of the home or hide if possible. Never confront the intruder unless absolutely necessary.
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    Ask a lawyer for advice. While other methods of defending your property focus on what you can do to deter intruders, you really need to know what to do if an intruder is already on your property. Before you purchase a gun or protect your property through the use of force, talk to a lawyer about the laws in your state. Each state has different laws regarding what is acceptable for property owners to do in the face of a home invasion. Lawyers will be able to give you the most up-to-date information that can be relied on.
    • To find a qualified lawyer, visit your state bar association's lawyer referral service website. After answering a few general questions, you will be put in contact with multiple qualified lawyers in your area.
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    Look at your state's laws. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer you can do the research on your own. Start your research by doing a simple internet search. Use Google or another search engine and search for "[your state's] home protection laws" or "[your state's] castle doctrine".
    • After doing some initial research online, go to your local law library to continue your search. Ask the librarian for help on the subject. He or she should be able to point you in the direction of statutes and court cases you can read on the subject of protecting your home from intruders.
    • Read these laws and gain an understanding of what is and what is not allowed.
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    Take self-defense classes. If your neighborhood has had recent intruders or if you simply want to know how to protect yourself, visit your local police website and search for offered self-defense classes. Most police stations will offer free classes for individuals concerned for their physical safety. Most classes will teach you how to assess threats, strike vulnerable areas of an intruder's body, and escape from an intruder's grasp.
    • A lot of classes are meant for females who want to know how to protect themselves from sexual assaults. However, these same skills can be used to protect yourself from intruders, regardless of the intruder's intentions.[1]
    • If you are a male looking to learn how to protect yourself, ask your local law enforcement agency about options in your community. The same people that teach female classes will most likely have other classes available for you.
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    Get pepper spray. Pepper spray is a canister that can be kept close to you in your home. If an intruder is present, you can use it to disorient and inflict physical pain on them. Pepper spray is usually available at sporting goods stores, online, and through pharmacies. Each state will have different laws regarding the purchase and use of this tool so make sure you know how to use it legally. For example, in California, canisters can only be a certain size and can only contain a certain level of the active ingredient "OC". In New York, you can only purchase pepper spray from a licensed pharmacist.
    • To use pepper spray, grasp the canister in your hand and use your thumb to press down the trigger. Point the canister in the direction of the intruder and squeeze the trigger when the intruder gets within two arm lengths of you. Aim the stream at the eyes of the intruder. Once the intruder has been hit with the spray, step aside but do not turn your back on the intruder. continue spraying until there is a safe opportunity to run away.
    • Make sure you practice using the pepper spray so you feel comfortable with it. This will make using it easier when you are faced with an intrusion.[2]
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    Buy a taser. If you think you need something stronger than pepper spray, a taser should be your next option. A taser will disrupt the intruder's body communication system. When this happens, the intruder will become immobile for a short period of time.[3] When used properly, a taser should allow you to get away from an intruder safely. Tasers are not allowed to be used in a number of states including Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Check with your state laws before you purchase and/or use a taser to protect your property. Other states limit the use of tasers to homes and to people with valid permits.[4]
    • Tasers come in many forms and each one will be used differently. Therefore, before using any taser, make sure you receive training and practice with your weapon. The improper use of a taser may cause you to get injured.
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    Purchase a firearm. As a last resort, if your safety cannot be secured through the use of other tools, you should consider purchasing a firearm. In most cases, you will have to go through a background check before you buy the gun. In some states (e.g., California), you may even have to wait a number of days before you can purchase the gun. For the purpose of home defense, a pistol or specialized shotgun are your best options. These weapons are easy to use and store safely in close quarters.
    • Before bringing a firearm into your home, go to gun ranges and practice with different types of firearms. Get an idea of what works best for you and what you feel comfortable with.
    • It is incredibly important to know how to handle a gun safely so you do not injure yourself or your family. Owning a gun is a serious responsibility.
    • A firearm should only be used in incredibly limited circumstances when an intruder is seriously threatening your life or the life of your family.[5]
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    Avoid illegal means of protecting your property. Never use more force than needed to protect your property from intruders. If you use excessive force, you may be get in legal trouble. For example, never use booby traps to protect your property. These devices might include trip wires, bear traps, bamboo pits, and snares. Even if your state has not outlawed these things, when you use them you run the risk of innocent bystanders being harmed by them.[6]

Method 2
Using Animals to Protect Your Property

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    Research good guard animals. Dogs can be great family pets as well as great tools for protecting your property from intruders. Some dog breeds are better for property protection than others. Quality guard dogs will bark, bite, intimidate, and chase intruders away. In general, the best dog breeds for protection include:[7]
    • Bullmastiffs
    • Doberman Pinschers
    • Rottweilers
    • German Shepherds
    • Akitas
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    Shop around. Do not simply purchase the first dog you find. Dogs need to match the personality of their owners and you need to make sure you purchase a dog that you can take care of. For example, guard dogs are very active and need to be exercised often. In addition, they can be aggressive towards others if not properly trained. Therefore, it is important you shop around until you find the right dog for you.
    • Additionally, while it is always nice to adopt a dog from a shelter, these dogs often need extra training due to possible emotional and physical problems that arose before you owned them. Therefore, it might be a good idea, if you are purchasing a dog for home protection, to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder.
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    Train your dog. When you find a dog that matches your personality, your lifestyle, and your family, you need to train them properly. If you have the money, consider taking your dog to a professional trainer. Most communities will have dog trainers you can hire. A lot of dog trainers may even specialize in training guard dogs.
    • If you do not have the funds to hire a professional trainer, you can certainly work to train the dog yourself. Start by teaching the dog basic obedience (i.e., sit, stay, leave it, and bark). Next, teach your dog impulse control, which means obeying your commands when others are in the house. You also need to teach the dog about his or her territory, which involves walking the dog around the house and your property daily. Finally, teach the dog to protect your property by going through the process with him or her. Have someone come up to your house as if they were going to break in. Teach your dog how to react to these situations and repeat the process.[8]

Method 3
Installing and Maintaining an Effective Security System

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    Hire a professional. As soon as you become concerned about the safety of your family and your property, you should hire a security expert to look over your property and give you recommendations. The type of professional you hire will depend on the actions you want to take and the amount of money you want to spend.
    • If you have a large home and family, and a lot of valuable property to protect, you might consider hiring a security consultant. These experts will usually offer security risk assessments, training, plans, and services.[9] However, these services can be quite expensive and may be too much security for your needs.
    • A lot of families will hire a professional security services company to help them defend their property. You could do the same by hiring a company like ADT, Protect America, Protection 1, XFINITIY, or Alarm Force.[10] These companies offer services like alarms and camera systems. These options are usually more affordable.
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    Identify your areas of concern. Work with the professional you hire to look over your property and find areas that could easily be penetrated by intruders. Common areas of concern usually include doors, windows, and property boundaries. These are areas intruders look for weaknesses they then try to exploit. When you work with your professional, set up an appointment time when they can visit your property to look over the situation. Make the appointment during a time when someone in your family can be home to show the person around.
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    Build a fence. At a glance, you might think that signs and fences do little to protect your property. However, in reality, these features are great deterrents for scaring away would-be intruders. Because intruders look for easy and quick access points, they rarely want to spend time jumping over fences and carrying equipment and stolen goods over them.[11]
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    Place security stickers around your home. When you place a security company's sticker or sign in your window or yard, you are telling intruders that your home is professionally protected. Most intruders will not want to risk getting in trouble by breaking into a home that has a security system.[12]
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    Install quality locks on doors and windows. One of the most common places intruders use to break into a home is through windows and doors. Intruders will look for doors that are unlocked, do not have a lock, or that have flimsy or old locks. Therefore, it is important to update your locking mechanisms in order to protect your property. Study each window and door and look to see if you have working locks. If a door or window has a lock that doesn't work, replace it.
    • All locks should securely fasten the window or door to the framing of the property. The lock should not be accessible from outside without the use of a key.
    • On doors, use deadbolt locks in addition to locks on the door handle itself. Deadbolt locks offer an extra layer of security and make it difficult for an intruder to break in.
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    Avoid certain types of doors. Intruders usually break into homes they consider easy to access. One of the things intruders look for is doors with windows, mail slots, and dog doors. Intruders will use these weaknesses to gain access to your home.
    • If you have a door with one of these features, consider installing a new one. While the new door may not have all of the aesthetic features you want, it will protect against intruders.
    • If you really want to protect your property, you can even buy reinforced doors that are made out of extremely durable and tough materials. These doors are difficult to break down.
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    Have automatic lights. Intruders often break into homes they think are not occupied. One of the most common things they look for is the absence of lights. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to deter would-be intruders is to have your lights set on a timer. This way, certain lights will automatically turn on at a certain time. You can buy these light timers at any hardware store in your community.
    • Use these timers for outdoor lights, hallway lights that will light up your entry way, and lights in common rooms with windows facing the front of your home.
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    Purchase an alarm system. One of the most common defense mechanisms for your property is an alarm system. An alarm system is a series of electronic devices that protect against intruders. Do some research (type "security system companies" into an internet search) or ask your professional for help finding a system that is right for you. These systems will vary in cost depending on the company you purchase from and the type of system you buy. You will usually pay for the system itself, an installation fee, and a monthly fee. When you purchase an alarm system, a professional will usually come and install the following:[13]
    • A control panel
    • Door and window sensors
    • Motion sensors
    • Alarms
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    Install security cameras. In addition to purchasing an alarm system, you can also install security cameras to further deter intruders and protect your property. Security cameras are used to monitor hard to see and distant areas of your property, remote buildings like garages, and entry points like your front and back doors. These cameras will provide security footage to your computer smart phone, or tablet.
    • Security cameras are most often used when you are out of town to watch for deliveries and other services like landscaping and housesitters.
    • Cameras can also be used to record security breaches so you have footage of the intruder that can be used by law enforcement.[14]
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    Use your smartphone to help secure your home. You can download an app on your phone that you can use to lock your doors, turn on lights, and arm your security system. These apps are a great way to secure your home when you are at work, out of town, or when you simply forget to lock the door on your way out.
    • These features only work in conjunction with specific security systems. Ask your security provider if they have an app you can use.

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Categories: Self Defense | Home Security