Friday, March 7, 2014

How to Answer the Door Safely

Home invasion - that is, forcibly entering a home to commit robbery or other crimes while the occupant is present - is frightening, personally threatening, and can happen anywhere. This kind of robbery is increasingly common. Criminals gain entry by posing as legitimate visitors. This article shows how to identify a potentially dangerous caller before you open the door, because once he enters the home, it's often too late to do anything about it.

Think before you open the door. Are you actually expecting anyone? Do they have an appropriately-marked automobile? Are you alone and vulnerable?
Look to see who the visitor is. Look through a peephole or make sure your security chain is locked and open the door just a crack. If you don't recognize the person ask them their business and request that they show their identification. If they have a legitimate reason to be on the premises (i.e. they work for the utility company or they're a police officer), they'll be happy to show you their ID. If you are still afraid to let them in, ask them to come back later and have a friend come over when they are scheduled to return.
Check on the person. If the person claims to be from, for example, the electric company, and you've not been notified that someone would be coming, call the company to check on him. Even if he shows you identification, it's a good idea to call and check: his ID could be fake. Look up the number in your phone book; don't call a number that the visitor gives you, as it could belong to an accomplice.
Take a photo of the caller and his car (with tags visible) and secure your camera before opening the door. Let him know you have taken this precaution.
Leave the house if you feel uncomfortable after letting someone in. If you've done your best to verify a person's identification but you begin to feel uncomfortable after you've let the visitor in the house, make up an excuse to leave the house and go to a neighbor's home or call the police. If you feel threatened, don't worry about being impolite – run out of the house and call police as quickly as you can.
Don't answer the door if you are vulnerable, or tired.
Install a security door. A heavy duty door with dead bolt will add a barrier between you and the person on your doorstep. You can open your door (after looking through the peephole) and still be protected.

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