How to Behave During a Break-In at Your Home

This article was originally written for a ghostwriting contract that didn't go through. As a result, I'm publishing it here.

How to Behave During a Break-In at Your Home
Photo by Bermix Studio / Unsplash

This article was originally written for a ghostwriting contract that didn't go through. This was very early on in my ghostwriting career and I didn't know how scummy some clients could be. I was given a headline and word count and told to write the client an article, and if I was accepted, they would pay me to write other articles. Needless to say, they did not hire me and they basically got a free article out of it.

As a result of all this, there is nothing stopping me from publishing it here since I never agreed to anything about ownership. I'm fairly happy with how this came out, so although I never got paid for it, it serves as a good example of my ability to cover serious subject matter.

You’ve had an exhausting day at work. After a long drive home, you collapse into your bed and fall asleep. The comforting and familiar darkness surrounds you. All is well.

Suddenly, a crash! You hear the distinct sound of shattering glass followed by heavy footsteps.

There’s an intruder on your property.

You rush for your gun safe, unlock it, and pull out your firearm. You pick up your phone and dial 9-1-1. What do you say?

In times like this, it can understandably be difficult to think straight. However, it is important to keep a firm grasp of yourself and not give in to panic. In this article, we will go over the three most important things to know about how to make a good emergency call and how to make sure that you are not held liable if you have to defend yourself.

#1: Stay Calm and Keep the Call Brief

The operator’s highest priority is to get as much information out of you as they can, quickly and efficiently. As you answer their questions and explain the situation, keep a clear head, and answer their questions truthfully. While the operator will want to keep you on the phone as long as possible, all that will do is give you more opportunities to slip up. More on that soon.

In the same way, you will also be less able to focus on dealing with the intruder. While the operator may truly want nothing but the best for you, the prosecutor has a different plan in mind.

#2: Your Words Will Be Used Against You

If you have to take the intruder’s life, or even injure them, understand that the district attorney assigned to your case will stop at nothing to put you behind bars. Think of the call like you’re giving testimony because you pretty much are. Don’t laugh, don’t make jokes, just give them the information they need, and end the call. The longer you stay on the line, the more potential ammo you could give to the opposition.

If you must stay on the line longer, use it to show the proper conduct you took when dealing with the intruder. Announce to them that you’re armed, the police are coming, and that you DO NOT want to shoot them. When the prosecution, the judge, and the jury listen to the phone call, and they most certainly will, give them nothing that would indicate you had any unnecessary violent intent.

#3: Avoid Talking to the Police More Than Needed

When the police arrive, they may mention the call you made and try to get you to talk more. Avoid this if possible. Like the attorney, the officers will be trying to build a case against you. Don’t act suspicious by refusing to talk at all, just make it clear about what happened and that you want your lawyer before answering any new questions.

As the police will always tell you, “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”. When choosing to answer any question, keep that in the back of your mind.


It may be hard to hang up on somebody that truly just wants to help you. The reality is that it is out of their control what happens to the phone call once it’s over. The less you say, the less that can be held against you.

Nobody wants to have to shoot somebody. Sometimes, there was just no other way. Know that you are not a monster, you did what you had to do. Following these tips will help you out a lot when your life and freedom are at stake.