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Prevention is best defense against frightening and potentially deadly home invasion

Police in normally quiet Carpentersville, Illinois, located in far west suburban Chicagoland, are on the hunt for two suspects who committed a home invasion earlier tonight.

Although the two adults and 5-year old child who were tied up by the robbers are undoubtedly traumatized by their ordeal and likely face a difficult emotional recovery, they fared considerably better than the Petit family of Cheshire, Connecticut. The pair of perpetrators in that home invasion incident - who are currently standing trial - beat up the husband, killed the wife, and set the home on fire, leading to the death of the couple's two daughters due to smoke inhalation.

While home invasions are much more rare than simple residential burglaries, the results are significantly more devastating. Emotional trauma, serious injuries, and even violent death are all potential outcomes of a close encounter with a potentially violent intruder.

The best defense against a home invasion scenario is to prevent it from ever happening. Every household member should be educated about basic home security procedures and understand their individual responsibility for helping to protect the home.

In the case of the Carpentersville incident, early reports indicate the intruders entered through an open garage door shortly after the family returned home. Open doors are a virtual invitation to would-be thieves and brigands. Overhead garage doors should always be kept shut when the garage is not actively being used. A variety of commercial products are available that can alert you when a garage door is open. Or better yet, an overhead door relay can be tied into a monitored alarm system to warn of an open door and sense a closed door being opened without authorization.

All exterior doors of a home should be equipped with quality dead bolts and kept locked at all times, whether the home is occupied or not, both day and night. A sturdy storm door or security door can be installed if ventilation during warmer months is desired. Sliding doors with screens can present special security challenges, especially if they are left open at night. Using an adjustable door bar, wooden dowel, or commercially available pin lock to hold the door open no more than 4" - 6" wide is an acceptable compromise between security and ventilation needs.

A monitored security system is an excellent investment that can enhance the safety and security of your family against many types of threats, including home invasion. In addition to providing perimeter protection of doors and windows, most security system keypads feature one-touch panic buttons to summon law enforcement without the need for getting to a phone and dialing 911. Higher-quality systems can be equipped with hardwired or wireless panic buttons that can be hidden in various locations for use during a home invasion emergency.

A trained security professional is the best resource to help you identify potential weaknesses in your home security environment and to develop a plan to resolve those issues. Your local police department may provide a home security inspection service, or contact the author, a state-licensed security professional, for more information and assistance: george.white@gmail.com

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