Break-In Safety

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

The House has passed legislation authorizing the use of deadly force against anyone who breaks into a home and physically threatens the occupant. It hasn't been passed by the Senate, though it does raise the question of what can be done if someone breaks into your home while you are there.

The Augusta County Sheriff's Office has an answer. It's a fear no one wants to live through: you're sitting in your house, when someone breaks in.

"I would go to a room, lock myself in there and call 911 immediately, and stay on the phone with the 911 operator until we can get there," says Sgt. John Howard.

Howard says your safety is a priority. So take care of you and your loved ones first.

He says, "Usually they break-in to steal stuff, a lot of times they'll trade the stuff they steal for drugs, just pawn them off because they need the money."

He says that's exactly the case during most break-ins around Augusta County. For instance, this past Tuesday, police say suspects broke in to a store in Waynesboro and stole six skateboards.

Howard says the last thing they want to do during a break in is hurt anyone.

"I would obey their commands, go along with them," says Howard. "Don't try to resist, because normally they'll just let you go. You can try to resist, but you're going to have a physical confrontation at that time and you could get injured."

If it comes down to defending yourself, he suggests ways to avoid getting hurt.

He says, "If the person grabs you, of course you know you go for the groin area. You can use the heel of your foot to go against their toes. You can knee the side of their leg. There's a nerve there you can hit. You can go for the eyes, throat."

If you're unable to get yourself out of harm's way, at least pick up a phone.

Howard says, "If you can't get up to lock the door, at least call 911."

As far as using deadly force goes the House has passed similar bills during the past two years, but the Senate Courts of Justice Committee has shot them down. State police define deadly force as being the amount of force necessary to gain control of a life-threatening situation. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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