Having a gun and knowing how to use it is often touted as the best possible home defense. Here are four other ideas that don’t require you to have or use a gun.
GET A DOG
Dogs serve two purposes when it comes to defending the family. First, they are an early warning system. Dogs that bark when someone comes in the house are not a problem. That barking lets you know someone is there. Second, some dogs will actively leap to your defense. It may surprise you, but some dogs will not defend their owners. As this and similar stories and studies show, chihuahuas can be counted on to come to their owner’s aid.
You may think one of these tiny dogs is not much help, but when someone is breaking into your home intent on mayhem, they have to deal with the dog first. That gives you time to react and get something to turn the tide in your favor.
GET A TRIM
Privacy hedges sound like a great thing. The hedges keep your neighbors from seeing your business. They also provide perfect cover for someone trying to break into your home. Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed below window height. Curtains provide enough protection from prying eyes without giving the bad guys room to maneuver.
Same with privacy fences. A great idea, but if no one can see what’s happening in the backyard, then no can see you if you need help but cannot attract attention.
This is one of the uncomfortable trade-offs.
Sometimes hiding is the best option. If you have a hall closet, get a tapestry or wall rug that will cover the whole door and have some extra space on each side. Hang the tapestry over the door. If perps come in the house, get in the closet. The wall hanger will hide you long enough to make a phone call. If you still have a landline phone, have a phone with the ringer off in the closet.
A lot of people like pepper spray. You want law enforcement grade spray that creates a mist which hangs in the air and a dye. Here is why:
The spray you get at a convenience store is about an average hot sauce. Also, the oil carrier in it hardens over time. This clogs the nozzle. Push the button and nothing happens.
Law enforcement pepper spray contains chemicals that cause the lungs to spasm. In addition to burning, the person will find it hard to breathe.
Spray the stuff as you retreat. When the mist hangs in the air, a criminal coming after you must walk through it. He will get the dose and hopefully be incapacitated.
The dye sticks to the skin and will not wash off. The invader is going to be orange for days, making him easier to identify when police go looking for him if he gets away. Yes, it will stain furnishings and the walls; these can be replaced. You cannot be replaced.
Many local law enforcement agencies will help you buy this spray. Some that teach home and self- defense classes may have some for people who take the class. Call your local law enforcement agency for details.
WHAT TO AVOID
Do not get a gun unless you know how to use it, are willing to use it and accept the fact you may take a human life. If you cannot meet these three conditions, a gun is more dangerous to you than someone breaking into your home.
Stun guns are nice toys. They deliver a jolt that stings, but will usually not knock someone down. Furthermore, you have to be close enough to the person to touch them with it. You do not want to get that close.
Tasers are good, but only if you can get skin contact. A think jacket is enough to prevent a taser from making contact.