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Local Law Enforcement Offer Tips for Protecting You and Your Home Against Intruders

Law enforcement officials say it's important to think about how you would react in a home invasion type situation in advance, because it can be difficult to make a decision under stress.
NEOSHO, MO.--- Law enforcement officials say it's important to think about how you would react in a home invasion type situation in advance, because it can be difficult to make a decision under stress.

Locking your front door, it's one of the main steps to securing your home.

"The thing you are going to want to do is try to delay or have them make noise," said Captain Richard Leavens, Newton County Sheriff's Office. 

Captain Richard Leavens with the Newton County Sheriff's Office works with neighborhood watch and has tips on how to keep homes safe.

"If you have a glass front door, we recommend using a double keyed lock, where it has a key for both inside and outside, that prevents someone from coming in and unlocking the door," said Captain Leavens. 

He also encourages people to reinforce door jams and keep areas lit so there aren't hiding places in shrubs. The second thing to protect yourself is to develop a plan.

"Any kind of planning is better than none in a situation like this, because it helps reduce the panic," said Captain Leavens. 

Leavens says for that plan, first call 911, then discuss with your family beforehand a meeting place or plan to hide. Also, the law says you have a right to protect yourself in your home, but if you aren't prepared to use a gun, don't use it in the situation.

"Everyone always asks me 'what are my rights, and when do I have a right to shoot? What kind of force can I use?' The law says you can use what force is necessary to protect your property. The difference between having the right to shoot and shooting is a question that you have to ask yourself," said Captain Leavens. 

That also means thinking about different scenarios in advance.

"If you have an alzheimer's patients trying to get in, that's one thing. Some guy trying to get into your home is a whole 'nother thing," said Captain Leavens. 

Another thing Captain Leavens said is that dogs can be a deterrent. If you don't have one, you can still make it look like you have one by adding a dog dish or chain. 

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