There is an interesting thread on the DC subreddit about an attempted home break-in last night near Upshur and 14th Street. Reddit user itsmywanderingmind writes that her roommate came home late at night, and was followed by a man back to their shared house. The man tried to open the door several times, the roommates called MPD, but the man ended up leaving before police arrived.
The roommates found themselves a bit frozen with what to do ("standing around frantically" is the pretty descriptive phrase she used in her post).
While the roommates were scared, obviously, calling the police was the right thing to do. Commenters suggested purchasing a bat ("swing at non-lethal places on the body," one commenter suggests), buying a used shotgun and putting rock salt in it instead of birdshot and buying pepper gel or spray as ways to protect yourself from a home invasion. Other commenters suggested getting renter's insurance, video cameras and not coming home at 3am.
Owning mace or pepper spray is legal in DC, according to MPD. If it is purchased in the District, it has to be registered with MPD. However, if purchased outside of DC and brought into the city, it does not have to be registered. Someone suggested gel was better than a spray, and to be very careful about spraying mace in an enclosed space.
What are your thoughts on how to protect yourself from a similar circumstance?
Below is the reddit post; I recommend reading the comments on reddit as well:.
So, last night, a man tried to break into the house I share with 2 other roommates. My roommate got back from a bar and was sitting in a friends car. They were parked down the street from the house and were talking for about 20 min. They noticed a man staring at them (which was odd because he was just standing there in the rain), so they roll down the window and ask if he needed anything, he said no.
After my roommate and her friend were done talking, she came into the house, went upstairs and decided that she was going to shower. She heard the screen door open and she looked down the staircase and saw the man trying to get in. At this point, she started yelling at my roommate and I (this was a little before 3 AM) to wake up and that a man was trying to get in.
I woke up, but was half asleep so I didn't know what the hell to think. I open my room and my roommate is standing around frantically, telling us that a man is trying to break in. She looks down the staircase and sees that the man is gone. I'm standing around like an idiot because I have no idea what to do. A couple seconds later, my roommate looks down the staircase again and starts yelling "he's back again, he's back again."
I was too scared to look, but my roommate said that the man had returned and that he opened the screen door, was crouching, and that he was trying to get the door to open. Of course, by this point, my 3rd roommate called the cops, I am standing around at the windows trying to see if the man is still there. At this point, I also grab my stainless steel water bottle and just held it (because apparently I was prepared to use it as a weapon).
The 3rd roommate is on the phone with the cops and I go downstairs and no one is there. The porch light was on, doors were all locked, and the cops came and my roommate told them what happened.
I am from a medium sized town in Central Illinois, so I feel fine walking around at 3 AM and I was naive enough to think that this situation would never happen to me. So....moral of the story, if it can happen to me, it can happen to you (happened near Upshur and 14th).
Be safe, keep the porch lights on, keep everything locked...and have something better than a water bottle to keep you safe. Personally, I am going to Target after work and buying a bat.