How to Deal With a Burglar Breaking Into Your Home

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Your home is your castle, so you want to feel safe and secure inside of it. Unfortunately, your home might be entered by a burglar whos after your money or valuables. Typically, burglars want to take things without harming a homes occupants, but that doesnt make them any less scary! If you hear a burglar in your home, hide from them if you can. Otherwise, tell them you called the police and use your household objects to fight them off. In the meantime, secure your home to make it less vulnerable to would-be burglars.


[Edit]Hiding from the Burglar

  1. Escape from your home if thats possible. Generally, its better to leave your home if an intruder is inside. Go to the closest door or window and flee to safety. Once youre secure, call the police for help.[1]
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    • If neighbors live nearby, run to their house for safety. Otherwise, look for somewhere you can hide, such as inside a grove of trees or behind a fence.
  2. Hide inside the closest room or closet with a locking door. Look around you and pick out the most secure hiding spot. If you can, move to a room or closet that has a locking door. Get inside and secure the lock.[2]
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    • You might also look for a hiding spot inside the room. For instance, you might get under the bed or inside a cabinet to further conceal yourself.
  3. Barricade the door to keep the burglar out. Push heavy pieces of furniture in front of the door to keep it closed if you can. Alternatively, lean a chair under the door knob so its hard to push open the door. If the door opens outward, loop a belt around the door handle and the leg on a heavy piece of furniture.[3]
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    • For instance, you might push your dresser in front of your bedroom door. Then, sit in front of the dresser.
  4. Be as quiet as possible so you arent found. Once youre hidden, try not to make any noise. Dont talk accept to tell emergency services that you have a burglar. Additionally, dont shift around or play with something.[4]
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    • Make sure your phone is on silent or vibrate.
    • Dont try to move hiding spots. This will make noise and might draw attention to you.
  5. Listen carefully so you wont be surprised by the attacker. While its scary to think about, its likely that the burglar is going to go through your home looking for valuables. They might reach the room where youre hiding before the police arrive. Listen so that you can hear what theyre doing. Pay attention to the following:[5]
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    • Do you hear footsteps or other noises coming your way? If so, prepare to run or fight.
    • Does it sound like the burglar is talking to someone else? If so, there could be more than 1 burglar.
    • Can you hear your property being picked up and packed? This can give you an idea of where the burglar might be located.
  6. Call the police once youre in a secure hiding place. After you find a hiding spot, use your cell phone to call for help. Tell the dispatcher your name, your address, and that you have a burglar. Then, explain that youre hiding and need to be quiet. Stay on the line until they say its safe to hang up.[6]
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    • Keep the volume of your phone on low while youre calling for help. This minimizes the chance that youll be heard.

[Edit]Confronting the Intruder

  1. Confront the intruder only if hiding isnt an option. Generally, its safer to avoid contact with an intruder rather than confronting them. You dont know their motives for entering your home, and they may panic and hurt you if they find out youre there. Do your best to escape or stay hidden.[7]
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    • Your personal safety is most important. Dont risk your life to save your stuff!
    • Keep in mind that the intruder may be more likely to get caught if you hide and call the police. If they think youre not home, they might still be in your home when the police arrive.
  2. Shout Ive just called the police to possibly scare them away. If youre discovered or cant find a hiding spot, yell that youve called the police already. Shout it out several times so you know that theyve heard you. This might scare the burglar and get them to leave voluntarily.[8]
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    • You might shout, Ive called the police! The police are on their way! I called 911! The police will be here any minute!
  3. Get your firearm for protection if you have one. You might choose to protect your home with a gun. If so, retrieve your gun from its secure spot as soon as you hear the burglar. Then, prepare to use your gun for protection.[9]
    Deal With a Burglar Breaking Into Your Home Step 9 Version 3.jpg
    • You may choose to shout to the burglar that you have a gun. You could yell, "I have a gun!" However, its possible that the burglar could also have one.
    • Its legal in some areas for you to shoot a burglar. However, there may be restrictions on whats legal, so research the laws in your area. For instance, you might not be able to fire on an intruder who is leaving.
  4. Pick up a knife if youre near your kitchen. Dont try to go to the kitchen to retrieve a knife. However, grab a knife if youre close to the kitchen when you hear the burglar. Keep the knife in your hand so that you can surprise the attacker with it if they get close to you.[10]
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    • While a knife is a great weapon, it might be hard to use and could get taken from you. Dont approach the burglar with the knife. Use it to scare them off.
  5. Grab a heavy object that you can use as a weapon. You dont need a conventional weapon to fight someone off. Use a household item as a makeshift weapon to give you an advantage against the burglar. Strike the burglar with your weapon if they get close to you. Here are some great options for weapons:[11]
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    • A bat
    • A hockey stick
    • A pot or pan
    • A wine bottle
    • A lamp
    • A statue or bust
    • A belt
    • Perfume
    • Hairspray
    • Bug spray
  6. Strike the burglars weak points to help incapacitate them. If youre close to the intruder, hit them where it hurts. Aim your weapon or a kick at their groin first if theyre a man. Then, attack their eyes, nose, neck, knees, and stomach. Hit them as hard as you can, then run away.[12]
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    • Your goal isnt to fight, injure, or detain the burglar. Just try to incapacitate them long enough for you to run away.

[Edit]Securing Your Home

  1. Practice your plan for a home invasion in advance. Try not to worry too much about potential burglars because youre probably safe. However, its helpful to practice how youll handle a burglary so youre prepared. Make a plan with your family and practice it so you feel ready to carry it out. Here are some things to consider:[13]
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    • Plan an escape route from your bedroom and the common areas.
    • Create a danger word that warns other household members of an intruder.
    • Designate an area for all household members to meet up.
    • Create a safe room by installing a heavy, locking door on one room.
  2. Keep your doors and windows locked at all times. Dont give a burglar easy access to your home. Close and secure all exterior doors and windows, even if youre home. This prevents crimes of opportunity.[14]
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    • Check your doors and windows before you go to bed every night to make sure theyre locked.
    • Add deadbolts to your exterior doors.
  3. Store expensive items in your garage out-of-sight. Burglars are hoping for an easy score, so theyll be tempted to grab things like bicycles or expensive tools. Keep these items in your garage when theyre not in use, and make sure you or your children dont leave them laying in your yard.[15]
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    • Burglars might see these items laying in your yard while theyre casing homes and come back later to steal them.
  4. Trim the vegetation around your home so a burglar cant sneak around. You might think that shrubs and bushes hide your home, but they actually hide would-be intruders. Burglars can easily creep around your home if theyre shrouded in leafy vegetation. Eliminate these hiding spots by keeping your bushes, shrubs, and grass trimmed.[16]
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    • If you have a multi-story home, trim any tree branches that would allow a burglar easy access to a window or balcony.
  5. Install outdoor lighting so would-be burglars feel exposed. Burglars want to stay hidden in the dark, so they might avoid your home if its well-lit. Put lights above your exterior doors and keep them on while its dark outside. Additionally, install motion-activated flood lights over your garage and the side of your home.[17]
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    • Check around your home for areas that might need more lighting to be secure.
  6. Use curtains to prevent potential burglars from spotting your goods. While casing your home, would-be burglars will look through your windows to see if you have valuables. Make it harder for them to see inside by installing curtains or blinds over your windows. This makes it less tempting for a burglar to enter your home.[18]
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    • Its especially important to cover your windows at night. If you have a light on, the contents of your rooms will be very visible from outside.
  7. Install a security camera over your front door or garage as a deterrence. Burglars dont want to get caught, so they might avoid your home if they see a visible camera. Plus, youll have evidence to give the police if they do break into your home. Put your camera above your door or above your garage to scare off potential burglars.[19]
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    • A camera will be a better deterrent if its easily visible to intruders.
  8. Get a home alarm to scare off burglars and call for help. Investing in a home alarm system may scare off any burglars who do try to enter your home. Plus, itll call the police on your behalf so help arrives faster. Research home alarm companies to find one that fits your needs and preferences. Then, get an alarm installed.[20]
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    • Be sure to display you home alarm companys sign outside your home so potential burglars know youre protected.


  • Burglars usually target empty homes, so they may run away if they know youre there. However, dont count on that! Its best to stay hidden if you can.
  • If you manage to see the burglar, try to memorize as many details about them as you can. If they get away, you can provide them to the police as they attempt to catch them.
  • If you want a pet, consider getting a big dog to deter potential burglars.
  • If youre particularly worried about a break-in, consider learning self-defense. It will make you more prepared to fight off an attacker and more confident in a crisis.
  • If you use your cellphone to call emergency services, keep it on vibrate. Otherwise, there will be a loud ringtone if they need to call you back, which will alert the burglar to your location.


  • Learn your jurisdictions laws on self-defense. While some allow the use of lethal force when an individual breaks into your home, others have varying definitions of reasonable force.
  • Call the police if you have been robbed so they can open an investigation.

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