A couple of months ago, one of my dear friends, Jay, moved into a new home.  She was very excited about owning her first home.  The neighborhood she and her husband moved into was considered to be in a safe and upscale part of town.  Although the home was new to Jay, she felt at ease knowing the reputation of the area.

One evening last week, Jay came home from work and started her evening routine.  Just as she was changing, she heard something outside.  Jay quickly called her husband and told him she was frightened and to hurry home.  The noises got louder and Jay peered out the window to see a man pacing on the street in front of her home.  Then Jay heard someone trying to get into her house.  She hung up the phone with her husband and called 911. 

The 911 operator worked with Jay as she was frantic that someone was trying to break into her home and she had no alarm system or weapon.  The call lasted over 10 minutes before Jay’s husband and the police came up the street, scaring the trespassers away.  Later that night, three juveniles were apprehended.  They had vandalized Jay’s home and truly traumatized her. 

The police provided copies of the 911 call Jay placed with each of the juvenile’s parents, and they were charged with vandalizing.  These young men could have been charged with attempted breaking and entering, but due to Jay’s good nature, she did not want them to be charged with a felony that could cause issues in the future. 

As Jay and I talked about this incident, I gave her some advice a friend had given me a while back.  Notify your neighbors that if/when there is an emergency at your home, you will activate your car alarm.  The noise will scare away intruders, and your neighbors will know there is a problem and call the police.  The second tip was to keep “bottle rockets” – those small fireworks that look like a firecracker on a stick – and when you hear something outside, open a window and shoot the bottle rocket into the air.  The sound is loud, and can even sound like a gun shot.  This will also draw attention and perhaps scare away an intruder.  Of course, my final tip was to install an alarm system and outdoor lighting.