There are millions of people around the world that are living alone and a huge percentage of those are elderly and/or vulnerable. If you fall into this category, have relatives who do, or you are just home alone, you must learn how to answer the door safely.
Remember, it is YOUR home and it is YOUR choice as to who you let into your home but when alone, answering the door does not come without risks.
Here in the UK, distraction burglaries and bogus callers are a big problem. During these cases, they will knock on your door and gain access by claiming to be someone that you might trust such as an official of some sort or as you answer the front door and they keep you talking, their friend is sneaking in through the back door.
If you are one of those people that immediately answers the door without a second thought when there is a knock, it is time that you start looking at changing your routine for your own safety.
If you have children in the home, it is important that you also teach them the same lessons.
Knock, Knock, Who’s There?
If you are expecting a genuine caller from somewhere such as the utility company, they will in most cases pre-arrange an appointment and will always carry photographic identification with them. If in doubt, ring the company they claim to work for and check that everything is legitimate. Never open the door without first seeing their identification.
Visually Confirm Who They Are
If you don’t have a peephole installed in your door then always use your windows to make sure that the person on the doorstep is exactly who they claim to be. If they say they are your neighbor, check before opening the door. Delivery? check to make sure they are wearing the uniform and the company van is outside.
Use the Chain
If you have looked through the peephole or the windows and have visually confirmed who they are, use the chain link on the door when you first open it. This will allow you to have a better vantage point so that you can see if anything looks amiss such as more people stood on the doorstep which you couldn’t see before.
Reschedule if Needed
If it has not been possible to identify the visitor for any reason, don’t be afraid to reschedule the appointment for a later date. This will give you time to check on them and to ensure you know who they are before allowing them inside your home.
Trust Your Gut
If something doesn’t feel right about the situation, NEVER open the door. Don’t just open it because you fear being rude. Trust your gut, it is the best self defense tool that we have.
Watch Out For the following When Answering the Door
- Being rushed – If the visitor seems to be getting agitated or keeps trying to rush you, don’t let them in.
- Check the phone book – It would be easy to create a fake identification badge for a company and then add a fake phone number that will go through to an accomplice. Never ring the phone number that they give you but check the phone book first to make sure that the number is correct.
- Don’t rely on gender – Understand that not all dangerous callers are going to be male. Female callers can be a danger too.
- Lock the back door – Before answering the front door make sure that the back door is securely locked and that all windows are closed.
If you are ever in doubt, don’t let the person into your home. You have the right to feel safe and comfortable in your own home. If you feel scared, worried or anxious, call the police and let your neighbours know.