This is the third of a series of articles designed to help you improve the security in and around your home. In previous articles we have outlined 13 principles for the prevention of theft and break-ins. In this article we will look at the safest steps to take in the unlikely event that you encounter an intruder in your home.
It is important to know that thieves are trying to avoid detection and do not want to come face-to-face with you, but there may come a time that you arrive home or wake up to the presence of an intruder. It is hard to know how you will react in such an unfortunate situation, but the following guidelines will put you on the path to the best possible outcome in a difficult situation:
1. Avoid violence or direct physical contact, and if possible try to remain a distance from the intruder. To prepare yourself and your family to handle a break-in situation, consider spending 10 minutes familiarising everyone with a designated room, which you feel is the safest place to gather if an intruder enters your house.
2. Do your best to deter others (staff or neighbours) from interfering with the intruder directly.
3. Try to put distance or barriers between you and the intruder. If you are arriving home, stay out of the house.
4. Call for help from authorities without delay. Try to keep a clear head and provide as much useful information as possible: the number of intruders and their location, the number of residents in the house and their location. If language is a problem, have a Lao contact willing convey a message quickly.
5. If possible, set up a position in a safe place in which you can see what is going on in your area.
6. Remember as much detail as you can (faces, description of the perpetrator, license plate numbers)
7. Remember that you are more important than your valuables and only attempt to gather valuables during a break in if you can do so safely.
8. Wait for help to arrive, and double check identity/authority before letting people in to help.
If contact with the intruder is unavoidable try to act confident but not aggressive. Fortunately, in most cases thieves in Laos are not violent, therefore an authoritative voice, a strong step forward and a hard look is enough to cause an intruder to flee. You may choose to hold a defensive item in your hand; make it visible but do not threaten directly. When the perpetrator takes flight, avoid intervening even if some valuables are being taken in the process. It is better to remain safe than to attempt direct contact with an intruder. While violent break-ins are unusual, it is wise not to provoke a thief, as you do not know what the reaction will be or what weapon might be concealed.
Only if you are you are threatened or assaulted are you in the position to retaliate. If you choose to retaliate you should do so with limited or equal force. Defensive moves such as a punch or a kick to sensitive areas of the body (face, stomach, genitals…) should be employed only to give you time to retreat to a safe location and alert authorities. If the intruders can hear you, tell them that someone is on their way.
Phrases in Lao language just in case:
– POLICE: dtum louat
– STOP THIEF!: chaap khon khi laak!
– DON`T SHOOT!: ya nying!
– PLEASE: ka rou na
– WHO ARE YOU? (rudely): chao meng phai?!
– WHAT ARE YOU DOING?: chao het ngang yu?!
– GO AWAY!: pai!
While it is unadvisable to have direct contact with an intruder, if a thief should surrender to you, detain the person safely by securing both hands and feet. Have the person sit or kneel with his view obstructed with fabric or a scarf. Check for weapons to prevent violence.
Once the intruder has fled (or is detained non-violently), calmly secure your property for later inspection for footprints, fingerprints, or other evidence of the break-in.
It is our experience at Kerberos Security, that the worst outcome of break-ins is the unease and mental discomfort of being the victim of a crime. Fortunately, if you follow the D-I-Y of home security guidelines outlined in articles 1 and 2 and you plan for and react calmly in the unlikely instance of a break-in you will be confident that you have done all you can do to protect yourself and your family. Do not be a victim of unpreparedness, and a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to home security now that you have the knowledge to guard yourself from the unpleasantness of crime in your home.
In the next article we will look at formal security systems, how to choose a security company in Lao PDR and how we can get the maximum benefit from your investment in self-installed, professionally installed and monitored security systems.
We wish you a peaceful and safe time until next issue.
This article has been provided by Kerberos Security – the leading security service provider with focus on technical expertise, quality and partnership, in Laos since 2006