Home invasion: Simple steps for greater protection

Start a Quote

What is a home invasion? Initially it might conjure up images from the 2002 thriller Panic Room, which stars Jodie Foster as a woman who hides with her diabetic daughter - played by Twilight's Kristen Stewart - in their steel-encased panic room, while burglars break into their house and violent events unfoldi.

Home invasions are a popular story line in pop culture, but it's important to remember that these types of crimes aren't restricted to the silver screen.

Frequent media stories paint similarly alarming pictures in real life; for example in May on the NSW Central Coast, three attackers broke into a home, threatened the owner, fired a gun, ransacked his house and set his car alightii.

The term 'home invasion' often means different things depending on where it is being used. The media, police, state government departments and even victims all have varied descriptions of the act. In fact, there is no legal definition of 'home invasion'iii.

There is, however, a general understanding that home invasion is unlawful entry into a home by an unknown offender, or offenders, with intent to commit a crime when the occupants are at home. Confrontation - possibly violent or with the threat of violence - between the offender(s) and the occupant(s), as well as theft or attempted theft, are frequently included in references to home invasioniv.

In their crime victim figures, the ABS includes it under "unlawful entry with intent": 71 per cent of these crimes take place at residential propertiesv.

How can you be prepared?

You don't have go to the same lengths as American actor George Clooney and his barrister wife Amal, who recently installed a panic/safe room in their British house that is "fireproof, bombproof, and attack-resistant"vi. Instead, try some of these simple steps to feel safer at home:

Installing a monitored security system is just one of the steps you can take to help protect your home from intruders.

If someone does invade your home when you are inside, police advise you to stay in a safe place and put a physical barrier between yourself and the intruder. Call triple zero (000)x if you can. If you are outside your home, but hear or see someone unexpected inside, don't go in and call 000.

iIMDb, Panic Room, viewed 12/05/15,

iiThe ABC 2015, Trio charged over violent Central Coast home invasion, viewed 12/05/15,

iiiSouth Australian Office of Crime & Research 2015, Home invasion in South Australia, viewed 14/05/2015,

ivHunter, N. and Marshall, J 2000,'Robbery in a dwelling or home invasion? Analysis of 1998 police incident reports' , South Australian Office of Crime & Research, viewed 19 May 2015,

vAustralian Bureau of Statistics 2013, Recorded crime - victims, Australia 2013, Cat. No. 4510.0, (ABS), Canberra, viewed 12/05/15,

viMarquina, S 2015, 'Exclusive: George Clooney, Amal Almunddin installing panic room in home - get all the details on their high-security remodel', US Weekly, viewed 12/05/15,

viiRosenbaum, P. 2010, 'Simple steps can help prevent home invasion', CNN, viewed 12/05/15,

viiiNorthern Territory Police 2015, In the home, viewed 12/05/15,

ixBleksley, P. 2012, 'How to defend your home against burgles - the safe way', The Guardian, viewed 12/05/2015,

xVictoria Police, Safety advice, viewed 12/05/15