10 Tips for Preventing and Dealing With a Home Intruder

Our homes are sacred, safe places where we raise our families and lay our heads down at night. Most of the time when we are inside our home, we feel untouchable. As much as I wish that were true, it just is not the case. That is why dealing with an unwanted guest on your property can be a very unsettling and scary situation. 

Dealing With a Home Intruder

First off, everyone needs to do a little research into their local laws as it pertains to protecting your property and those living on it. These laws are very important to know because how you are allowed to act can be quite different than what you might think. 

Secondly, there are several things that can be done to your property that may prevent an intruder in the first place. Many years ago, I remember reading an interview that was conducted among a group of burglars. Because they simply wanted to steal items of value, their goal was to get in and out of a house as quickly and as quietly as possible without being identified. The following list is a few items to consider that may detour a would-be intruder.

On the Outside!

Security cameras 

Go high-tech by placing security cameras throughout your property. Cameras not only provide an early warning system as to who is on the property but where they are. They will provide evidence of the event and a description of the perpetrator.

These types of cameras have become more affordable for the average person but if budget is a concern, “fake” cameras have also shown to be effective. These are items that look like cameras but are non-functional. 

Motion Lights 

Motion lights are can be another effective way of scaring someone off of your property. For someone wanting to remain in the shadows, a bright light revealing their position is an unwelcomed event!

No Tall Shrubbery

I received this tip from a police officer while I was on a ride-along years ago. If you grow plant life close to your home you should do your best to keep it thinned out and low to the ground. When a police vehicle shines its searchlight into these areas, tall shrubbery can easily keep an individual concealed. 

Buy A Dog 

Having a dog is one of the best deterrents to keep someone off of your property. Even if a large dog is a big “softie,” someone on the outside won’t know that. A dog’s bark will be an early warning system indicating a possible threat. If that threat continues they may find out that they bit off more than they could chew. 

Keep Everything Locked!

I know that this sounds incredibly obvious but you would be amazed at how many people don’t do this or just do not make it a habit. I have heard many times that some intruders will go from house to house, or car to car testing out the doors or windows. If they are locked they move on, but then they come upon an unlocked entry point, which is an open invitation for them. 

 It does not matter where your vehicle is parked, when the occupants get out, lock it. It does not matter what time of day it is or where you live, when you walk into your home, lock the door. If this is not a habit for you, I strongly recommend making it one until it becomes second nature. 

On the Inside!

Unfortunately, anything that you do, including the above advice, are merely deterrents. If an individual wants to gain access to your property they will. So once they are inside, here are a few recommendations for how to handle that situation. 

Grab Your Phone

Luckily, most of us tend to have our smartphones within arms reach most of the time. If you believe someone is in your home call emergency services and turn the speakerphone on. Every call to emergency services is recorded which will provide an audio record as to what occurred. By placing it on speakerphone you be able to keep both hands free and the intruder will hear that a call has been placed, indicating that the authorities are en route. 

Yell Out To Others 

Even if there is no one else in the house, scream out a name and tell them to call the police. This may throw the intruder off guard and give you a few extra seconds to take appropriate actions. 

Purchase a Bright Flashlight 

Everyone should have a flashlight at their bedside. This is going to sound counter-intuitive but you may not want to turn the lights on if you believe someone is in the house. When the lights are on, you may be able to see them but they can also clearly see you. Instead, purchase the brightest flashlight that you can afford and it would be even better if it has a strobe function. 

When a bright flashlight is pointed at your eyes in the dark, you instantly lose all of your night vision and momentarily go blind. A strobing light is even more frustrating because it can impair depth perception, and make it difficult to process movements  

Everyone should have a flashlight on their bedside table. It not only works for intruders, but they are handy during power outages. 


Another item that should be kept by your beside is a pair of shoes. They should be a pair that are easy and quick to slip on while protecting your feet.

A pair of sneakers would work well. You never know what you may run into or step on, especially in low light conditions, and it is a bad idea to compromise your footing due to being barefooted. 


When all else fails and you come face to face with a threat you will need to be able to protect yourself. This is one reason we have the second amendment. If you choose to purchase a firearm do your research, become well versed in the firearm, and take plenty of training courses. 

If firearms are not your cup of tea, consider taking a self-defense course. Many communities have venues that offer these courses and some are specifically geared towards teaching what to do in these types of situations. 

Lastly, remember that in dire times anything can become a weapon. I once met a person who had a rather pessimistic view on this matter. They said something on along the lines of, “well I don’t own a gun or any other weapons so I guess there isn’t anything I can do.” Wrong! No matter where you are right now stop reading and look around. If you cannot find a minimum of three items that you could use to defend yourself then you need to change your perspective and look again. 

Final Thoughts 

The responsibility to protect your property and yourself is solely your responsibility. You may disagree with me on that and that is fine. But think about this.

While this isn’t the case everywhere, the average response time for law enforcement in the United States is between 5-10 minutes for priority calls. On the low end of that figure, a lot can happen in five minutes.  Heck, even if the response time were one minute that would be too long. It only takes seconds for an action to irreversibly change your life. What all that means is that you are the first responder if this should ever happen to you. Don’t you think it be a good idea to be prepared and to know what to do?

Written by Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021. Read more of Bryan's articles.