Here’s what you should do if you wake up and think there’s an intruder in your house
02/20/2019 / By Mary Miller / Comments
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Here’s what you should do if you wake up and think there’s an intruder in your house

Imagine lying in bed at night, within the safety of your own home, when all of a sudden, you hear a loud noise from inside your house. It could be nothing more than a stray animal that has somehow found its way in, but then again, are you really willing to take that chance and leave yourself and your family vulnerable to an attack? Home invasions can happen when you least expect them. Protect your home from intruders by following these home defense tactics. (h/t to

Verify the presence of the intruder

If it really is just a stray animal, then you might just be getting paranoid for nothing. Alternatively, you might have simply misheard and let your paranoid imagination get the better of you. It might have been the normal sounds of plumbing or the creaking of wood. Either way, what you should first do is verify if someone really is in your house. Simply take a deep breath and listen closely for any strange sounds. If you can confirm that someone else is in your home, then you can move on to the next step.

Call the police but stay quiet

It is better to alert the police sooner rather than later. In case you come across the intruder and SHTF, it will be easier to sort everything out with the police if they know that you called first. Dial 911 as soon as you can, but be sure to speak slowly and in a soft voice to effectively communicate the situation to the emergency dispatcher. If you can’t speak because you’re afraid that might alert the intruder, you can make use of the text-911 function. It should take the police an average of 10 minutes to arrive or respond to your call. (Related: 9 secrets from a veteran cop to protect your home from burglars.)


Have a plan to clear your home

The goal of clearing your home is to make all potentially dangerous areas secure. This is easier to do when you have other people with you, but it can also be done alone as long as you take great caution. Your plan to clear your home should be strategic and methodical. What is important is that once an area has been cleared, it must stay cleared. The easiest way to do this is to work from top to bottom. This allows the intruder a chance to escape with a smaller chance of a confrontation. Begin with your attic, then move on to the top floor. Secure first your bedroom and then its adjacent rooms. Secure any exterior doors and windows as you clear the rooms, and remember not to leave your back unguarded. No one knows your home as well as you do, so be sure to check any potential hiding spots around your house. As you move around, try to stealthily walk in a way that minimizes your target profile. Avoid silhouetting yourself against lights or framing yourself in the center of a door or hallway. If you have someone with you, have them watch the top of the stairs as you descend to the lower floor. Move tactically and avoid lingering by the doorways. Clear the lower floor in the same manner as the upper floor, but always make sure that uncleared areas remain in front of you, not behind you.

Stay calm and quiet while deciding your next move

If you have cleared the entire house and found no presence of any intruder, then you can simply wait for the police to arrive and do a secondary sweep. However, if you do hear an intruder still lurking about in your home, quickly assess the situation and decide whether you need to escape or stay put. If there are any nearby windows or doors that you can use to make a quick and stealthy exit, you can take your chance and use them. If not, you may need to find a safe hiding spot until the police arrive. Keep your weapons close but only use them as a last resort. Avoid direct confrontations as much as possible. A cornered intruder may become desperate and may react without restraint.

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