When creating your home defense strategies (and you ARE creating them, right?), you need to think in terms of layers, not unlike an onion. It isn’t nearly enough to just decide you’re going to go toe to toe with anyone who dares enter your home uninvited. Ideally, they’d never get that far, if you’ve planned properly.
There are at least three distinct layers to a well crafted security plan. It starts with the perimeter. This area extends from your front door to as far as your property line. Ideally, this is the area where you’ll stop most intruders. You’ll do this by working on the risk versus reward equation. You want the possible intruder to believe the risk of going further won’t be worth the reward for doing so. For example, if the appearance of your home is such that it doesn’t look like there would be much of value inside, they may pass your home completely and seek fortune elsewhere. The other option is to increase the perceived risk, such as having one or more dogs, signs indicating alarm service monitoring, and the like.
The next layer is your structure. This is your home itself. You want the strongest doors, windows, and locks you can afford. Again, you’re working on the risk versus reward. The more work involved with breaking into the home, the less desirable it will be to do so. Sufficient exterior lighting, particularly motion activated lights, go a long way toward deterring intrusions after dark. Keeping your head on a swivel as you come home and exercising good situational awareness is also important. Sometimes burglars and other nasty types will watch a home for a day or two in order to see if patterns exist as to the comings and goings. If they notice that you’re constantly on alert to possible threats, they may just decide it isn’t worth it.
The final layer is your personal space. If an intruder has gotten through your perimeter and entered your home, in my opinion at least, all bets are off. You should do anything and everything you can to defend yourself and your family. Now, with that said, state laws vary and in some areas you might not legally be able to take certain actions that might be completely legal elsewhere. It pays to do your homework and to know ahead of time what is “allowed” and what is not. More than one homeowner has found themselves on the wrong side of Johnny Law because they did something that, in the eyes of the law, went too far.
That said, learning self-defense such as a “real world” martial art, can go a long way toward defending your personal space. While it is no substitute for a good handgun and the requisite training, you may find yourself unarmed at the worst possible moment.
Take a look at your security plans. Do they cover all the layers?