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What to Do If You Are Home During a Break-In

Mobile phone laying on a wooden table with numbers 911 dialed on screen.

Actions to Take If You’re Home During a Burglary

A break in could happen no matter if you own a home, rent a home, or live in an apartment While typically an intruder will break into a home when it is suspected that no one is home, sometimes the individuals that live in the home are there during a break-in. 

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting, there were over 1.1 million home burglaries in 2019.(1) The US Department of Justice reports that one in four of these burglaries takes place while someone is in the home.(2)   

Therefore, it helps to be prepared for an intruder by having a plan with others you live with in case a break-in occurs when you or someone you live with is at home. Below are some tips for what to do if you or someone is home during a break-in. 

Be Quiet/Don’t Make Noise

As startling and unnerving as a break-in is while you’re home, it is crucial that whomever is home resists the urge to scream or threaten the intruder and does not make noise when the intruder is there. Odds are the intruder thinks no one is there, and being loud lets them know you’re home and where you are. If the intruder is armed with a weapon, noise could startle them and cause a violent reaction. Quickly and quietly, everyone that is home should hide. Move to a designated room, closet or crawl space that is away from where the intruder is in the home to avoid confrontation. 

If you have a home security system and are near the alarm panel or pass it on the way to the designated safe place, press the emergency button to alert your security company that immediate assistance is needed. At BrightSuite, we offer a panic button in addition to the home security panel that provides direct access to emergency services. Once you get to the designated safe place away from the intruder, call 911 and quietly give the operator your name and address and inform them that an intruder is in your home. Keep the 911 operator on the line as long as you can, another benefit of a BrightSuite home security system is the smart app which allows you to alert authorities from your phone. 

If it is possible to leave the home without confronting the burglar, do so. Having a window ladder in each bedroom can be a tremendous help in this case to allow you to easily escape an upper floor window without going downstairs and through the home. A neighbor’s home is a better safe place as it is away from the intruder and the scene entirely so you can call 911 for help and be out of harm’s way. However, only leave the home if you can do so without encountering the intruder as a confrontation could end in violence . 

Call for Help

It is best to  leave the residence that is being intruded entirely before calling 911 if you can. However, if leaving the residence is not possible, when you are hiding away from the intruder, call 911 and be quiet and descriptive with the operator. Inform the 911 operator of all of the crucial information they need to know such as your name, phone number, the address of the break-in, where you are in the home, and anything you have heard or seen that may be helpful for the police/emergency services. Talk slowly enough so that the operator can understand what you’re saying.  If the intruder is near you, be quiet in your hiding place. It is not worth being found while talking to the operator, so stay quiet if the intruder is close. As mentioned above, if possible, try to stay on the line with the 911 operator until the police arrive and clear the residence of any intruders so you are not in danger when leaving your hiding place.

door lock interaction

Don’t Reach for a Weapon

With adrenaline heightened in the case of a break-in, you may want to reach for something you can use as a weapon such as an actual firearm, pepper spray or other object like a pan, knife or crow bar. This is unsafe. Attempting to intimidate an intruder can end up in retaliation; your weapon could be used against you or the intruder may be armed and act out of response causing harm to you or someone else you live with. As tough as it may be to think clearly while a stranger is at your residence, take a deep breath and think about your options before trying to confront the intruder, whether you’re armed or not.

Be Cooperative if you Encounter the Intruder

It may not be possible to avoid an intruder, as you may run into them while trying to escape or going to your hiding place.  Though it may be scary or intimidating to encounter the intruder, don’t make any rash decisions. Don’t make any sudden movements as the intruder may interpret this as a threat which could possibly cause you harm if they react with a weapon or force. Keep your hands visible to the intruder so they know you’re not hiding a weapon or trying to incite violence. If you are in direct contact with the intruder and can get a glimpse of their characteristics, that could be helpful to police later but try to avoid prolonged and direct eye contact which could be seen as a threat. 

 If they give you demands, act accordingly and allow them to leave with belongings as it is not worth risking your life for those items. However, if the intruder tries to take you somewhere else, make noise by screaming to alert any surrounding neighbors, or anyone else in the house. 

How to Prevent a Burglar or an Intruder from Entering

Your residence should be a safe space.  Nobody wants to find themselves at home during a burglary, let alone come home to a house in disarray with missing belongings. There are some key items burglars look for when targeting a home. It helps to learn how to avoid 10 of the common mistakes that make your home a target for a burglary. Installing an alarm system is one of the most effective methods of defense from a home intruder. notes that homes without alarm systems are 300% more likely to be broken into.(3) Burglars look for home security systems and are likely to skip homes or even neighborhoods where security systems are in place so they avoid the risk of being caught. Luckily, there are many options for home security systems to keep your home safe. BrightSuite home security systems can protect your home according to your home security needs. Discover the options for BrightSuite home security packages that fit your needs to protect your home from an unwanted intruder. 

Consider using an outdoor camera to capture video footage of people and cars with video stream that senses motion. Camera footage is a key component to identify an intruder for evidence in the case of a burglary. The BrightSuite wireless outdoor camera provides high definition footage with a 40’ view and night vision. Storage of camera footage is cloud-based so it can be easily shared with authorities. 

Usually burglars use forceful entry into your home through breaking down a door or shattering a window. notes that over 90% of break-ins require the intruder to forcefully enter through a window, door or other entry point.(3) The glass break sensor alerts you to broken glass within 25 feet and is automatically activated in both stay and away modes. At BrightSuite, we also offer door and window sensors so you are aware of doors or windows opening over an inch apart. 

Learn how BrightSuite can help ensure the safety of your home and family with improved security and peace of mind. View our BrightSuite security packages and products to see what fits your home security needs the best. Contact us today to work together on installation and get you one step closer to more secure living with a BrightSuite security system. 


  1. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, “Crime in the United States 2019, Burglary
  2. US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Burglary/Trespassing
  3.,  “Burglary Statistics: The Hard Numbers

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