KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Imagine being at home and you hear the door open. You think it’s a family member, but it’s not. Someone is in your home to steal. That’s the encounter described by former Knox County Commissioner Amy Broyles.

She says the break-in happened around 3:30 p.m. Monday in her North Knoxville neighborhood. Broyles says she’s still bothered by the burglary because it can happen anywhere and to anyone.

“It’s supposed to be where you’re safe,” said Broyles.

Home has lost its sense of safety for her family. Broyles says she ran out of her home to throw away some trash. When she popped back inside, Broyles says she forgot to lock the door behind her.

“I was in the bathroom and heard someone come in, and I thought it was my husband. Heard him moving around in the kitchen and I was coming out of the bathroom hollering, ‘Did you forget something?'”

It wasn’t her husband. Broyles says she surprised the burglar.

“I don’t think he realized that I was in the house and I certainly wasn’t expecting him. And I was kind of blocking his path to get back out so he knocked me down and fortunately he dropped the stuff he had in his arms,” she siad.

Broyles says the burglar dropped her purse and two computers, though he was able to leave her home with some smaller, less valuable belongings.

“It’s much more scary after the fact,” she said.

Knoxville police say this time of year they seen an uptick in break-ins and burglaries because people are buying, giving and getting gifts.

“We want to make it as hard as possible to get in that home,” said Capt. Bob Wooldridge.

The best advice is making it a habit to lock every door and window when you’re gone or at home.

“Make sure you have deadbolt locks, make sure you have extra locks. You want to have ample lighting,” added Capt. Wooldridge.

Police say you want it to look like you’re home. If you have a security system, make sure it’s activated and bushes or trees are not blocking the view of your home.

Wooldridge says if you do surprise a burglar, make sure you have an escape route.

“Use anything you might have right with you as you’re escaping. Keys you can use as weapons. You can also set off a car alarm by simply pushing the button and set that off,” he said.

The Broyles family is grateful things didn’t end badly and they’re warning their neighbors about the man who broke in.

“We’re lucky we live in a neighborhood that’s so closely knit. We look out for each other,” Broyles said.

KPD says they are investigating the burglary at the Broyles home. If you have concerns, questions or worries about your home. Knoxville police say you can give them a call at (865 )215-1514 and officers will come out to take a look, making suggestions about what you can do to better protect yourself.