Two young girls died after a man broke into their second-story Cleveland apartment and set it afire. This was after the man forced the 55-year-old babysitter (the children's' aunt) into a bathroom, where she remained-until she began smelling smoke. Then she fled to outside and later reported that the man had started the fire.
Ironically, in the week prior, the victims' mother had been robbed at gunpoint. The man who broke in and the man who robbed the mother are still at large, and police aren't sure if they're not the same man.
Could this home invasion have been prevented? Possibly. Here are tips that will go a long way in preventing someone from breaking or forcing their way into your home:
- Never speak to a stranger when all that separates you from that person is a screen door. Even worse is talking to a stranger when no screen is between the two of you. If possible, speak to them only through a locked door.
- Instruct your children, or any kids in your house, never to respond to a doorbell ringing or knocking at any doors of the house. This includes even if you're expecting someone, including pizza delivery. This also includes if you happen to be momentarily indisposed.
- Get a burglar alarm system and keep it on, always. This means you'll need to remember to turn it off when opening the door (or window). Kids in the house will also need to learn to turn it off or ask you to turn it off when they want to go out.
- If you think that the previous suggestion is too difficult to manage, it's important to realize that not all burglars (or rapists) knock or ring bells. Some will break in and you won't know it till they're inside your home pointing a gun at you.
- A 24-hour camera surveillance system should be installed. The sight of a camera or the warning sign from the system's company can be a strong deterrent to a break-in. Cameras should be aimed at all doors and entry points.