If you’re a victim of a crime, try to stay calm and co-operate.
Every crime and every criminal is different. This makes it difficult to be specific in terms of advice. What is always true is that we make better decisions when we remain calm, when you panic you cannot think clearly. And the best way to do that is to mentally prepare how you want to behave in advance.
So rather than provide answers which vary according to your circumstances, in this email we’re asking the questions that we think you should consider ahead of time. It’s easier to put your head in the sand than confront the reality of these situations with your loved ones. But we’d suggest discussing these questions with your family and anyone else living on your property.
Before we ask the questions, here are some general thoughts
•Get the priorities right. Nothing is as important as you and your family’s safety, no matter its price or even sentimental value. So if it comes down to letting the bad guys take everything but leave you alone, make that decision in advance. Home insurance can make this decision even easier.
•Don’t try to be a hero. Criminals are increasingly professional – they know what they want and if they hurt you the seriousness of the crime (and therefore the effort put into catching them) goes up several notches. So do what you can to help them leave with the minimum of fuss.
•Don’t do anything unexpected which can lead to surprises and the situation deteriorating rapidly. This includes physical movements – try to keep these slow, smooth and predictable. Also, if you’ve called armed response, let the bad guys know.
•Raise the alarm without putting yourself at risk. For example: do it if you hear signs of intruders outside but potentially not in front of them because this will anger them. That’s why having a panic button on your phone which you nearly always have nearby is very powerful.
•Try to keep family close by and stay calm for each other. But if it is night time and someone hasn’t woken it might be better to leave them alone. If someone wakes but is separated, it might be better for them to stay quietly where they are. This does depend upon the layout of your house, the ages of family members and many other factors but do think about it in advance.
•Give them what they want. Don’t take unnecessary risks pretending you don’t have smartphones, TVs, computers and tablets. They know probably have a safe as well and if you don’t you should perhaps get one just to have one to show them. By the way, some people have two safes, one where they keep enough to give to criminals to keep them happy, the other with items of substantial, especially sentimental, value.
So here are the questions we think you should discuss:
•What should we do if we think we hear an intruder outside the house? In daytime? At nighttime?
•What should we do if there’s an intruder inside? In daytime? At night time?
•Which room should we go to? When? Under what circumstances?
•Should we try and escape?
•Should we hide our valuables?
•What are our valuables that criminals might be interested in and where are they kept?
•Should we scream for help?
•If someone attacks our car when we are in it, what should we do?
•If a child gets lost, what should they do?
•What is the most important thing to think about and focus on in such a situation?