Home Invasion - Armed Robbery

A homeowners nightmare
A homeowners nightmare

Armed Robbery in your Home

I live in a complex, containing twelve townhouses, a swimming pool, tennis court and playground.

Lovely place to live normally, but behind our back wall there is a lot of building activiity as properties have been subdivided and building is taking place - therein lies the problem.

In the last two months, three of our homes have been robbed and last week my next door neighbour, her two children and helper were robbed at 12 midday, by three armed robbers who tied up the mother, two children and the domestic help, threw blankets over them and locked them in the bedroom. Simultaneously two armed men also robbed the townhouse behind us – this time a grandmother and her three year old grandson were tied up. So obviously a gang of five.

Once the gang had left, the police were called and arrived promptly. Freeing the my neighbours once I alerted them to their crises.

As I am a counselor, I sat and talked, fed and watered the children for hours, while everyone gave statements to the police, called the locksmiths, and spoke to the owners of the other invaded home.

All in all - a nasty business, thankfully no physical damage, only the trauma of a gun to their heads and the threat of rape if they did not keep quiet.

Tips on checking and keeping your home secure!

Source

How to Survive an Armed Robbery or Home Invasion

Taking the advice of Dr. Rudolph Zinn who offers the following advise based on interviews with 30 convicted house burglars in prison.

  • According to these criminals, the lives of victim’s would be spared if they remained calm, didn’t fight back, kept their hands visible and stayed still, only speaking if they were spoken to.
  • So breathe deeply and control your fear. Concentrate.
  • Try here to always protect your head, put your arms over your head, raise your shoulders to protect your neck area and try to stand sideways to the firearm – no face on.
  • Be honest and ensure there are no surprises such as someone else on the premises or an expected visitor.
  • Try to give them what they want so they can disappear quickly – the criminals sometimes felt they get more loot from their victims if they use violence.

The longer they're in your home, the more likely it is that someone will get hurt.

Try to remember what the robber looks like and what they touch so that you can inform the authorities once it’s all over.

Most house robbers are aged between 19 and 26 and their criminal career began in their teens, and 30% of them had used extreme violence or murdered in the course of their crimes. Women are most often hurt during house robberies.

Generally, they were from poor backgrounds, not well educated and as one prisoner told Dr. Zinn, “I make more in 5 minutes than I did working for a month.”

Robbers will monitor the home and movements for as long as is needed to formulate a plan – sometimes up to two weeks. They will also research and monitor the response times of armed response companies.

Most attacks occur between 7pm and midnight as people are relaxed, cooking or watching TV, and the security systems and beams are not activated. While alarms are not a deterrent, electric fences, CCTV, and detection beams deter robbers. Also little dogs kept inside the home.

The average robber commits 104 robberies over seven years before being caught. 97% of robbers or burglars are armed, and on average there are four members in an armed robbery gang. The conviction rate for house robberies in the USA is 53%.

Effects of Trauma

Trauma victims are seldom aware of the effects of trauma and have difficulty understanding the problems they consequently experience.

Some of the effects are:

  • Recurring nightmares about the trauma
  • Flashbacks and intrusive distressing memories
  • Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, activities, or situations associated with the trauma
  • Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Inability to have loving feelings or feel any strong emotions
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability
  • Feeling unsafe and watchful
  • Depression, fear, anxiety, guilt, social isolation.


Recovery from psychological trauma is often a difficult and gradual process, but when a survivor takes direct action to cope they feel a greater sense of control.

Once a victim feels safe and secure with the counselor and their surroundings, they should revisit the event in order to heal. These can involve repeatedly telling the story, and by the counselor asking questions, reprocessing in a new way or allowing the body to discharge any negative energy.

Mentally re-experiencing a traumatic event helps patients organize memory cues about it, which encourages the mind to restructure the trauma. This enhances the survivor’s self control and decreases the generalised fear to passive stimuli.

Instead of the thought going round and round in the person’s mind the thoughts out of the mind and on the ‘table’ to be looked at objectively.

Another approach to try after the above is to walk through the trauma backwards. Starting say 30 minutes after the event (when everything was as alright as it could be at that time.) The theory here is disassociating the mind from the event.

Everyone should know what to do during an armed robbery and be aware of the resultant trauma caused.

A few Police tips on keeping your home safe.

When to Seek Professional Assistance

You should seek professional assistance if the symtoms resulting from the trauma are too distressing or last for more than 3 weeks.

Warning Signs may include:

  • Unable to handle the intense feelings or physical sensations
  • Feeling empty and emotionally numb.
  • Continuing to experience strong distressing emotions.
  • Continuing to have physical symptoms of being tens, agitated and on edge
  • Continuing to have disturbed sleep and or nightmares.
  • No-one available to support you or with whom you can share your feelings and emotions
  • Having relationship problems with friends, family and colleagues
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs.

More by this Author


Comments 15 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I just hate to hear about things like this. So traumatic for those people, and they most likely will never feel safe in their homes again. Great information and suggestions, Shelley!


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Where I come from it is a normal daily activity robbing homes. I now live in a beautiful country and so free for me. I am able to leave my doors unlocked and fall asleep without fear. I don't miss that part of life.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

How scary to have this happen right there! I feel so bad for your neighbors. When I was a child (40+ years ago) my parents had two break-ins in the middle of the night. The second one, my mother was awake kneed by someone feeling up her leg. My dad was fast asleep beside her, a heavy sleeper. She felt paralyzed and couldn't scream as another man rifled through her jewelry box. Then with all her might she kicked the man who was feeling her leg and he fell back on the floor. They ran out of the house. She still cannot stay alone in the house overnight without being terrified.


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago Author

billybuc, Thank you for visiting - you are quite right the remnants of an armed robbery stay with one for a long, long time.

DDE - you are lucky to be living like a normal person and the way everyone in the world should be able to live. Thank you for commenting Devika.

FlourishAnyway - Thank you for sharing that story, it is so sad that your poor mother has lived with the result of the invasion of her home and her person- it is precisely why today people must talk to someone, such as a counsellor. Although 40 years ago, that was not the norm nor general knowledge. While the detail will always be with the person, it takes the sting out of the experience and helps the victim put it in perspective. The story and all its details, such as what did you do, what did you think, how did you feel, what was he wearing, what were you wearing, what did he say, how did that make you feel, what did the Police do - must come out and the story must be repeated several times over the next few days to get it all out of their heads. It's quite amazing how it works - I know it happened to me to. Thanks for stopping Flourish!


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago Author

billybuc, Thank you for visiting - you are quite right the remnants of an armed robbery stay with one for a long, long time.

DDE - you are lucky to be living like a normal person and the way everyone in the world should be able to live. Thank you for commenting Devika.

FlourishAnyway - Thank you for sharing that story, it is so sad that your poor mother has lived with the result of the invasion of her home and her person- it is precisely why today people must talk to someone, such as a counsellor. Although 40 years ago, that was not the norm nor general knowledge. While the detail will always be with the person, it takes the sting out of the experience and helps the victim put it in perspective. The story and all its details, such as what did you do, what did you think, how did you feel, what was he wearing, what were you wearing, what did he say, how did that make you feel, what did the Police do - must come out and the story must be repeated several times over the next few days to get it all out of their heads. It's quite amazing how it works - I know it happened to me to. Thanks for stopping Flourish!


Sandra Eastman 2 years ago

Shelley wonderful and mind bending hub. I have been blessed to never had this experience but my mom did once and she was a mess over it. I know those dogs can be a great deterrent as the little ones make a lot if noise. Great


Kaili Bisson profile image

Kaili Bisson 2 years ago from Canada

So terrifying. We are supposed to feel safe in our homes, and to have someone violate that is just so scary. Great and informative Hub!


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago Author

Sandra Eastman, Thank you for visiting and I'm glad you've never had the pleasure of uninvited 'guests'. I sympathise with your Mom, it's not easy to live with.

Kaili Bisson, Thank you for commenting and I appreciate your visit!


travmaj profile image

travmaj 2 years ago from australia

This is terrifying and difficult to comprehend. In saying that I realise it can happen to anyone and we must all be aware. How sad for your neighbours who will never feel safe at home again. I don't really want to face up to this horror but recognise how real it is. And thank you for bringing it to our attention.


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago Author

travmaj, Thank for stopping by and commenting, I appreciate it. A senior policeman had a meeting with all of us last night and he said safety starts inside yourself. Always be aware of your surrounding, the cars travelling next to you or behind you on your way home. Lock all windows at night, and ensure doors are locked. Just because it hasn't happened to you, doesn't mean it won't. It's the little things that opportunistic burglars or robbers take advantage of. More food for thought!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

Very well informed Shelley and I am so glad that vile deeds like this are very far and few between. You have given many great tips Shelley. Voted up.

Eddy.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

my hubby always say, keep the doors shut, lock with padlock even during day times.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

What a horrible story! I´m glad they were not seriously harmed and raped. This is more scary than what I have experienced during a hold-up in a jeepney drive in my home country. A gun was pointed to me and my friend. Thanks for sharing the tips here. Well done!


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago Author

Eiddwen, Thank you for visiting Eddy, I have been on holiday and am back now. Appreciate you votes!

peachpurple - Thank you so much for your comments. Your husband is right - we should always keep doors locked although you may live in a safe neighbourhood - trouble can strike at any time and when someone is on drugs

Thelma Alberts, Thank you so much for your comments - having a gun pointed at you is a horrible experience - the feeling of not knowing whether or not the person will pull the trigger. Glad you and your friend were fine.


Rabadi profile image

Rabadi 10 months ago from New York

Very scary that's why it's important to have a system in place just in case a home robbery happens. Thank you for the tips. Check out my latest hub if you get the chance, also following and passing this article along to family and friends.

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