During the holidays you may notice an increase in people coming up to your door: leaving flyers, selling something or just being neighborly. But you never know what their intentions are.
The local constables in our area have been warning people to be more vigilant due to a rising number of burglaries. One of the more controversial questions is whether you should answer the door when a stranger knocks or pretend you’re not home.
So, should you answer the door when a stranger knocks?
Our local law enforcement does recommend that you should answer the door from behind the locked door. The reason for this is, many thieves knock on the door to find out if someone is at home. If someone answers, they avoid the house because they are looking for an easy target. But if you pretend you are not home, they may try to sneak in and find you, placing you in danger.
At the same time, the person knocking may not have ill intentions at all, and there would be no reason to fear them. Answering the door without opening it at first will at least allow you to find out what they want.
What I encountered when I went door to door for charity
I myself have accompanied my kids when going door to door selling tickets for a charity fundraiser. Many neighbors seem to get freaked out when you ring the doorbell. Standing outside, I can usually tell if someone is at home. You can tell if it’s kids but lots of adults just stand there as well. It’s just a sad fact of life while living in the big city. Many people may live next to each other for years and never get to know each other. I didn’t take it personally if they don’t answer the door. But the few who did answer their doors either said they weren’t interested or gladly bought tickets.
Recently, a couple of senior homeowners were robbed when a woman and a child knocked on their door. They let their guard down talking to the woman while an accomplice either snuck in through a back door or forced their way into rob them.
I can definitely see both sides of the issue. Here’s what I think:
- Check who is at the door by looking out the window. Some doors have peepholes but many do not.
- Answer the door and ask what they want. On one hand, you may be worried about safety but on the other hand, the person knocking may just be a neighbor needing to talk to you about something.
- If you get a bad or nagging feeling, don’t open the door. Trust your gut.
- Keep your door locked at all times.
- Tell children and young teens never to open the door when someone knocks or rings the doorbell. If they notice that someone is at the door, they need to let an adult know. A couple of home invasions in the city resulted when teens opened the door without checking first.
- In case of a break-in while you are at home, have a weapon nearby and know how to use it.
- Or, at the very least, always have your cell phone handy in case you are in danger and have to call 9-1-1.
In answer to the original question about whether you should answer the door, yes, you should. Find out what they want, but do it behind a locked door. Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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