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How to respond to a burglary/ robbery attack; the do's and don'ts

Updated on September 12, 2014

We are all mindfull of our security, and we all take measures to protect ourselves from danger. Sometimes, that danger comes in form of burglars and robbers. Sadly enough, sometimes the measures we put in place to protect ourselves from such misfits, the fencing, surveillance devices, alarm systems, gates, doors etc are just not enough.


  1. Try as much as possible not to panic
  2. Wanna play batman? Resist the temptation to be a hero
  3. Act swiftly and decisevely
  4. Holding the trigger? Don't hesitate to shoot

So, how do you respond to a robber/burglar attack?

There are two options you can take to protect yourself and your property when burglars/robbers come calling. The body, in such incidences, automatically activates the fight or flight response. For that reason, you can either arm yourself and face the burglar or flee to safety.

I have faced three burglar attacks in the last three years and perhaps that's what gave me the inspiration to write this article. In those three incidents, i have learnt the following;

  • In a burglar attack, there can only be one winner. You can either lose to the burglar or win.In short, the rule of the jungle, where the fittest survive, applies.
  • In most cases, robbers/burglars are people close enough to you to monitor you closely. How else would they know that you have a treasure in your house?
  • In these attacks, time is of the essence. Burglars and robbers attack stealthy and fast, the faster you respond, the higher your chances of winning the battle.
  • Finally, your actions must be well calculated. The slightest mistake and you're done.

What to do?

The first step to take when faced with burglary or robbery is to go for your phone. If the burglar is already inside the house, do not make a voice call as you will end up alerting the burglar/ robber of your position. Instead, text/SMS a neighborhood friend asking him/her to call the police. Considering that they may be asleep, put your phone on silent mode and call them. Once your neighbor picks your call, disconnect. This way, you will be sure that they will get your message.

 ask a friend to call the police
ask a friend to call the police | Source

Fight or flight?
This decision can only be made after assessing the situation and is, to a greater extent, guided by instinct.

When to face the burglar or robber

  • The best time to fight a burglar/ robber is before they break into the house. Make breaking into the house as hard as possible for them.
  • Get to know the exact location of the burglar.
  • You need to first get an idea of the number of people you are dealing with. This can be achieved by listening for footstep sounds or any other sounds that could indicate movement as well as possible conversations. Do not dare to fight more than two burglars by yourself, it is a high risk move.

Surprise is key; ambush
Surprise is key; ambush | Source
  • Are you alone in the house? Having company puts you at a better position to win the fight. With two or three people, roles can be shared- talk of working as a team. We know that men are quite poor at screaming, the company of a female can come in handy when it comes to that. Additionally, in case the burglar/robber overpowers you, your partner can come to your aid. Numbers also help in confusing and scaring a burglar while giving you courage. It is easier to steal from someone when you know their exact location but when surrounded, the only way out is to run for dear life.
  • If you have access to proper weapons. This is very obvious; you are better off facing a burglar with a gun in your hand than with a kitchen broom. It gets better if you can blow them into pieces with a bazooka.
  • If you have rickety limbs, then fighting a burglar is a terrible idea. Do not face a burglar if you can't get off your wheelchair- no offense but unless you have a machine gun in your hands, this is suicidal. The same applies to the aged/ young and frail.
  • If your life or that of your kids, partner etc. is at stake. If a burglar has the intention of hurting you or a loved one, then it makes sense to put your life at risk. Some burglars will want to abuse women sexually. If this happens, fight as hard as you can.

Watch tips on how to beat a burglar

I think by discussing these points, you've also got an idea on when to engage the flight gear- run or hide. Perhaps to add to that, do not fight a burglar if you have a little kid. Do not expose your two year old kid to violence. Facing a burglar with a baby in your arms only makes you more vulnerable and the kid might be injured in the process. It is more advisable to hide with your kid. Never think of hiding your baby in your wardrobe before fleeing. It is more advisable to carry them with you- the burglar could be an arsonist.

Protect the kids from danger
Protect the kids from danger | Source

How to fight a burglar/robber

  1. If the burglar has not yet broken into the house, be as quick as possible IN arming yourself.
  2. Raise an alarm, the best way you can. e.g by screaming or turning on an alarm or siren. It is advisable to make the cause of your alarm clear n your screams. Let your neighbors know that you have a burglar in your house, otherwise, they might think you are having a fight with your husband.
  3. Make surprise moves. Lay in ambush and attack the burglar when he/ she least expects.

What weapons to use?
When fighting a burglar, your blows should sting like a bee. Causing the burglar the maximum possible pain is the only way to win.

When you strike, make it count
When you strike, make it count | Source

Ever heard of hot water?

In two of the three attacks I faced, I was successful in using hot water to deter the burglar. In the first incident, the burglar tried to enter through the window while in the second, they cut a padlock on the door. Luckily, in both cases, I woke up before they got in.

Hot water is very effective for a burglar who is trying to force entry by cutting your window's grill. An electric kettle can boil water within minutes. Therefore, you can stop him in time. If you have someone to help the better. When making this attack, make sure to stand by the wall near the window with a basin of hot water. Exposing yourself may prompt the burglar to throw things at you, worse still, shoot you. The hot water attack can also be used when the intruder tries to break the door. Immediately the window/ door goes open, splash the hot water onto his face. This way, the burglar will either flee or give you enough time to launch another attack.

 splash hot water through the window
splash hot water through the window | Source

The baseball club, metal rod?

Well, anything heavy will do. Hit parts where the impact will be most lethal. For example, when attacking a burglar from behind, it is easier to knock out the burglar by hitting the head than the back. If you have to go for the legs, aim for the knees, ankles or the front part of his lower legs. Hitting the thighs may not be as effective in disabling the burglar.

Not a kung fu master? Don't worry, a few kicks and punches can do the trick. You only need to hit the right places. If you have a gun, don't hesitate to blow the burglar's skull!

Simply put, anything that you can use to cause pain is good enough-Show no mercy.

No mercy; don't hesitate to shoot
No mercy; don't hesitate to shoot | Source

What to do after a burglary

Even if the burglar/ robber didn't succeed, record a statement with the police. The earlier the investigations start, the better.

Add more security measures
Add more security measures | Source

Check for the burglar's probable entry and exit points. Check for broken parts of the fence etc. This way, you will get ideas on securing your home better.
Upgrade your home security system. Possible upgrades could include changing your door locks, adding an electric fence to your perimeter wall, installing surveillance and alarm systems, You might also want to hire security services etc. If possible, create a secret exit or hiding place for a rainy day.

Though no security system is impenetrable, taking measures to protect yourself from the average burglar is worth the effort. Afterall, nobody wants to lose their hard earned property or worse still, lose their life in the hands of a robber.


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