More important, as a homeowner, you do not want to be in your house if a burglar comes to the door. But what do you do if you see a potential burglar at your door?
If someone comes to your door unexpectedly they could have a legitimate purpose or they could be knocking to see if someone answers before they kick in the door or go around to the back and break a window or knock down a door. This is a well-known technique that is talked about by police and neighborhood watches. It is easy to become paranoid, but there are some practical things that you can do to protect yourself.
If you hear an unexpected knock or your door bell, keep your personal safety in mind. Go to the door and look through your peep hole or a side window to see who is there. The door acts as a physical block between you and whoever is on the other side. Police have long recommended installing peep holes for front doors. It gives you a chance to see who is on the other side and make a quick assessment whether to open the door or not. If you recognize the person or you feel comfortable with who is at the door you can open it. If not you can talk with them through the door and make it clear that they should leave.
Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to let a stranger know that you are in the house. Some people do not make a noise when they hear a knock at the door. There might be some logic into letting burglars know that you are present, however. Most burglars avoid risk and having a homeowner present presents a risk of being caught. Also, in the recent video published by the Columbus Police Department (http://q13fox.com/2015/05/26/watch-convicted-burglars-explain-how-to-prevent-thieves-from-breaking-into-your-home/), at least one of the convicted burglars recommended that you make noise if someone knocks at your door.
Also, Smart911 has published a story of two teenagers who did not respond to a knock at the door when a suspect burglarized their home. Fortunately, the teens hid in a bathroom and were not hurt. Based on this example, Smart 911 recommends at least making some sort of noise, such as pretending to talk to someone on the telephone, turning on a TV, radio, or stereo to alert the burglar that someone is in the house. This way, you or your child does not have to interact directly with whoever is outside.
Some other things to think about are:
- When you go to the door, take your cell phone or mobile phone with you. That way you can call 911 right away if you need to, or you can pretend to be talking on the phone.
- If you have a camera system, you can place the monitor in a convenient place and check who is at the door before answering it. Many systems allow you to view cameras on your PC, laptop, tablet and even your smartphone.
- If someone has been at your door that seems suspicious to you, call 911 right away with a description. Deputies can be on the lookout for them.
- If you are away from your house for an extended period, such as on a vacation, consider having a radio on and/or putting your lights on a timer to make potential burglars think that someone is in the house.
- If you have an alarm system, post a sign. Also, posting signs such as “No Trespassing” or “No Soliciting” often works to discourage burglars.