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No Texting in a Criminal Minds World… Not Yet Anyway

Surely I have been watching too much Criminal Minds and Without a Trace. I keep wondering what would happen if someone entered my home through stealth with not so perfect intentions. I continually ponder if I could send a TEXT message to 911. Texting seems to have taken over the world, so naturally I assume that 911 is keeping up with the technical, digital age in which we live. Today my curiosity got the better of me and I called 911 to ask whoever answered if we could send text message to 911 asking for HELP.

I was disappointed because, unfortunately, you cannot text 911 … not yet anyway. Your only option is to call from a land line or an internet phone that is registered in the 911 system and can be traced for a call-back, so they will easily know the location from where you are calling.

It wasn’t that long ago that we had different phone numbers for different emergencies. If you had a fire, you called the fire department, if you got hurt you needed to call an ambulance and so forth. Finding all the emergency numbers you needed could be stressful, frustrating and confusing at the time of the emergency, especially if you were in an unfamiliar location. Thank goodness for foresight and for the implementation of 911.

Over forty years ago, the very first 911 call was made in Haleyville, Alabama on February 16, 1968. 911 is the number to call both in the US and Canada.

So what do you do in case of an intruder entering your home? How do you protect yourself and avoid personal injury?

THE INTRUDER IS ALREADY IN YOUR ROOM

If you awaken and realize that an intruder is IN your room and he has NOT approached you, pretend to be asleep. If your personal safety is not visibly threatened, pretending to sleep will likely keep you safe. Keep your eyes closed if you sense he is looking directly at you and do not go for melodrama (snoring, etc.). Professional thieves are only interested in taking items of value and leaving quickly. However, inexperienced home invaders or young ones may be trigger-happy.

Act immediately if the invader approaches, or if you awaken to an intruder standing at your bedside. ACT WITH NO HESITATION! If he’s approaching you, he means to harm you. Do not pretend to be asleep if you see him approaching you – the intruder may stab you to death as you lie in your bed.

THE INTRUDER IS NOT IN YOUR ROOM

  1. Take immediate action if you awaken to a noise or burglar alarm. Don’t lay in bed passively trying to be rational, trying to figure out if you can identify the noise.
  2. Lock your bedroom door immediately if you hear a noise in your home and put some kind of barricade behind it making it difficult to open. As a precaution, you may even start sleeping with your door locked. Consider installing a good, sturdy lock on your bedroom door and use it when you are sleeping.
  3. Turn on the lights in your bedroom and immediately call 911. You may want to try your cell phone first as the intruder may have cut your land line. Consider putting 911 on a speed dial.
  4. Arm yourself with something/anything to defend yourself with that will be effective. Keep a baseball bat, a golf club, or a firearm if you have one near your bed. Only keep a firearm for protection is you know how to use it and are willing to use shoot an intruder. Repelling a home invader can be done with anything you can get your hands on such as pillows, books, alarm clocks, your drinking glass, a taser, mace, fire extinguisher, lamp, chair. Use anything you can easily pick up that can hurt the invader.
  5. Stay put, but plan an escape route that makes sense. Try to avoid things like locking yourself into a bathroom; you may want to open your window. When police arrive stay locked in your bedroom or safe place until they have cleared the house. Have them check basements, attics and any storage areas as well. You want to be sure the intruder is gone and not merely hiding, waiting for ACT 2.
  6. You may want to make noise, jumping around and shouting. Tell the intruder you have called the police and they are on the way. The threat and the noise may be sufficient to scare the intruder away. Jumping around and shouting also serves to increase your adrenaline and may equip you to better handle any confrontation that may ensue.
  7. If you have a car alarm, you might punch the alarm on your remote. Continue to press the Panic button until the alarm is going full blare. Put a match under the fire alarm until it starts making noise.

THE INTRUDER BREAKS THROUGH YOUR BARRICADE
AND IS NOW IN YOUR ROOM

  1. Reasoning is out. You can’t simply scare him off or reason with him if he has broken through your barricade. You must run or fight, or both!
  2. Make a run out of your bedroom if you think you can get out. Otherwise, you may have to engage the intruder and neutralize him.
  3. Be prepared to throw any and all of those things you have armed yourself with: baseball bat, golf club, firearm, pillows, books, alarm clocks, drinking glass, a taser, mace, fire extinguisher, lamp or chair. Use whatever you can easily pick up that will hurt the invader.
  4. Throw objects at the intruder, aiming for his face, head and chest. Aim at him where you can neutralize or temporarily stun him.
  5. Strike the eyes, nose, throat, neck and groin if you must fight. Strike swiftly and without hesitation using your fists, elbows, or knees. A well-placed kick to the groin area or a head butt may stun or incapacitate the invader long enough for you to escape. Do each strike with all the strength you have. If the intruder has a weapon, consider disarming him and using it for your own protection. You may be fighting for your life here!
  6. Avoid deadly force if at all possible. However, if you truly feel your life is in immediate danger you may act in self-defense and protect yourself. Provisions of Arizona self-defense law state:
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13-404. Justification; self-defense

A. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, a person is justified in threatening or using physical force against another when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force.

B. The threat or use of physical force against another is not justified:

1. In response to verbal provocation alone; or

2. To resist an arrest that the person knows or should know is being made by a peace officer or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, whether the arrest is lawful or unlawful unless the physical force used by the peace officer exceeds that allowed by law; or

3. If the person provoked the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force, unless:

(a) The person withdraws from the encounter or clearly communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing he cannot safely withdraw from the encounter; and

(b) The other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful physical force against the person.

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PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE

  1. Install an electronic security system (confirm that your system is connected to your cell phone, as any home invader will have cut your land line rendering your home security system useless). Always place security system alarm stickers on your windows in plain sight.
  2. Install a sturdy, strong lock on your bedroom door. Keep your bedroom door locked especially when you are sleeping or bathing.
  3. Get a dog, or several dogs. Dogs will alert/bark in terms of securing their domain. They are good security precaution.
  4. Place various weapons in strategic places in your home, a baseball bat by the front and back doors, by your bed, etc. Tasers, mace, pepper spray, knife, or an ice pick, etc.
  5. Purchase a firearm and learn how to use it.
  6. Take a defensive training course to know how to better defend yourself.
  7. Always be alert to unidentified and/or strange vehicles that appear to loom around your neighborhood or around your house together with any strange individuals walking around in the same manner. Always alert police if you have a “gut feeling” that something is out of the ordinary. Never underestimate your safety.

While you may not be able to text an emergency message to 911 yet, there is still no reason for not knowing how to protect yourself in your home and around your neighborhood.

Contributed by: Rhonda Robbins