Friday, September 14, 2018

Thugs in Uniform: A Home Invasion

Thug in UPS Uniform
December 2016 Houston, Texas. A thug dressed as a UPS driver forced his way into a home followed by three other thugs. In the video you can see the robber dressed in a UPS uniform at the door. As soon as the homeowner opens it, the man rushes inside despite the homeowner’s attempts to close the door. Once inside the home, the men assaulted the victim and fired at least one shot which didn't hit anyone. Two women inside of the home grabbed children and hid. The bad guys stole jewelry and some collectible firearms. The home owner had a fractured skull, concussion, lost 6 teeth, needed stitches in his lip, and required 28 staples in his head after the brutal beating.

You can see a video of this home invasion as well as a scenario from our Short Range Match based on the incident here. 

So how do you prevent this?

If you are not expecting a package and don't recognize your regular delivery man or woman, don't open your door. Look for the delivery truck in the street if possible. If you don't see a properly labelled delivery vehicle, don't open the door. Tell the delivery person to leave the package on your doorstep and retrieve it later. If they insist on a signature, simply tell the person to leave a proper notice of attempted delivery and that you will pick the package up at the local company office.

What if the thugs decide to kick the door open? Take a quick look at this video of a thug kicking open an exterior door. That is how easy it is to kick in a normally constructed residential exterior door. You can prevent this with heavy metal doors similar to the picture below or by reinforcing your exterior door. 

Metal Exterior Door
No human could kick in the door in picture. To reinforce exterior wooden doors, I personally installed the Strikemaster II Pro on the door jam and hinges. I did this as the house was being built and asked the builder to install them so it was relatively painless. Similar products are the Door Armor Max (formerly EZ Armor) that Armor Concepts produces and Door Security Pro. There are probably others on the market that perform a similar function. As I look at product reviews however, it is clear that some people find the simple install is not quite so simple so your results may vary. You can purchase these products from a variety of vendors.

You can also use these products to reinforce your interior doors as well. In this home invasion, the two women in the home managed to grab children and hide. Wouldn’t it have been better if all concerned could have retreated to a safe room as the would-be home invaders were busy trying to kick down the exterior door?

Everyone should think through scenarios such as this now and develop a plan based on your particular circumstances. In my house, someone yelling “SAFE ROOM!” is giving the command for everyone to instantly stop what they are doing and go to a secure bedroom. A reinforced bedroom door with a dead bolt (see below) provides a safe room you can retreat to if you are in another part of the house when someone attempts to break and enter. From there you can call 911 and prepare to take other necessary action.

Reinforced Interior Door
If someone does manage to defeat your exterior door and enters your home, they now have another barrier to deal with. It is unlikely that they will stick around and try to defeat a second door. If they do, having retreated into a safe room increases your chances of survival and builds the foundation of “reasonableness” for your follow-on actions.

But I live in a good neighborhood you say? Well so do I—many of us live in neighborhoods we would characterize as safe. I live in a gated community; however, that did not stop someone that looked and acted like a home invader from showing up in my driveway once (it actually turned out not to be a home invasion). Plan now so you will be prepared if the time comes to act.

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