Did you know that most criminals don’t force themselves into the home? They usually gain access to the interior by entering when an unsuspecting individual lets them in. Criminals will go to great lengths to gain the trust of the person answering the door, and that is why you should be on guard. If you do not recognize the visitor, it is worthwhile to spend some time satisfying yourself about the intention of the person.
Most criminals will be deterred by a cautious homeowner, as they do not want t rouse suspicion. While not all have malicious intent, people who are genuine will cooperate with you. Taking the following steps will help you stay safe.
1. Answer the Door
You should answer every doorbell, so that the person outside is alerted of your presence inside. You may be tempted to ignore people you don’t recognize, but it is actually safer to answer. This will stop criminals from attempting forced entry.
2. Ensure Your Door is Secure
No matter how genuine or likeable the stranger seems, you should not immediately open the door. Often, this is sufficient to prevent most criminals from inflicting harm. You should also invest in reinforcements for your front door. This can be easily done with metal plates that you can install yourself, along with a security chain. Be aware that the chain can be cut, so do not rely on it to protect you.
3. Try to Get a Glimpse of the Person at the Door
If your porch light is broken, repair it as soon as possible. A brightly lit porch can help you see the person at the door and aid identification. You should also have a peephole, so that you can have a clear view of the person outside. You will be able to spot any suspicious behavior and also determine whether the person is dressed appropriately.
For example, if the person claims to be a home maintenance man, he should probably be wearing overalls and carrying a toolbox. Use visual cues to your advantage to establish the credibility of the stranger.
4. Ask Questions and Confirm Identity
Some criminals will claim to be from a company, and gain entry to your home on the pretext of providing you with some service. If you did not request the service, you should be cautious. Demand an identification document, and call the company to ask if they sent the person over. You should also look to see if there is a vehicle marked with a logo on the driveway.
General precautions that you can take to deter strangers with ill intent from knocking at your door include installing a home security system and keeping a dog. Your pet dog can also double as a guard dog, by raising the alarm if something is amiss. Prevention will save you from grievance, and do not shy away from making the person wait while you check his identity.
Francis Allyn works for an Ohio security firm that helps homeowners keep themselves and their families safe. When not assisting clients, Francis likes to blog about safety in the home and neighborhood, and also writes for Lifeshield Elyria Ohio.