A home is a Castle and no one ever expects that Castle to be broken into, burglarized or invaded. Unfortunately, recent incidents have shown that many Castles that don’t have moats, fences, guards and guns are being victimized. The culprits tend to be gang members or gang wannabe’s looking for either cash, coin or worse. In Cheshire, Connecticut, two savages perpetrated a home invasion on July 23, 2007 that resulted in the rape and murder of the mother and her two daughters. The worst part, the father had been asleep on the porch when these two maniacs followed the mother home from the store and committed their heinous acts. He was then tied up and thrown in the basement, barley able to escape only to watch his house burn with his family tied up inside. The bottom line, predators roam our streets and even at home, you have to be ready. The first line of defense is awareness – of your surrounding and your home. Know both its strong and vulnerable points. The first place to look is at pathways into your house and ensure those doors and windows have good locks on them, and in the case of a door, at least one deadbolt lock – and always use them. We don’t live in Mayberry anymore! The next step is to talk to your family about a security and emergency plan. Many families discuss a fire but not if a bad guys gets in. Look at your family as a “tactical team” where everyone has a responsibility. Know where you will go, rally up and what could be a “hard room” – a room that once secured, no one can get in. If the house has a firearm inside, have a plan for that as well. Know where it is, who can access it and who knows how to operate it. Other options include an alarm system, but be aware of the police response time. A dog is always a good option for multiple reasons and some statistics indicate that fewer homes with dogs are broken into. Like with everything in life, the most important thing is mindset, “the will to survive” and never give up, no matter what. Taking a few steps now to harden your Castle could spell the difference between disaster and staying alive.