What do you do if someone knocks on your door? Do you have a plan in place? Do other members of your family or house mates know what to do? Have you even given it much thought?
Image by geekmojo
I think it is worthwhile having some type of plan or procedure in place. When someone knocks on your door at any time, it should at least invoke some sense of awareness and the persons identity MUST be identified BEFORE opening the door. That doesn't matter whether it is night OR day. An increasing number of home burglaries and robberies happen by day.
Confirming a persons identity can be done in just one or two simple steps.
- Look through your peep hole and identify the visitor and/or
- Ask through the door 'Who is it?'
This is very easy, simple and quick. Either way, do not open the door unless you have absolutely identified the visitor as legitimate.
If this is a friend, it is very quick. If it is not a friend, take your time to establish the reasons for the visit. If you are not interested in their presence, tell them so. They should leave straight away. If they are pushy, this should raise alarm bells. Do not let them talk you into opening that door if you are uncomfortable doing so.
Utilities or Authorities?
If they are legitimate gas or electrical personnel or police they will be understanding. If they are from your gas or electric company, tell them you are just going to give the company a quick call to confirm. They should not mind this.
DO NOT USE A NUMBER TO CALL THAT THEY PROVIDE!
Get the number from your last bill. Call them and confirm they have staff on site before allowing entry.
Likewise, for police, ask them what station they are from and call the station using something like a phone directory or from the internet. They will not mind. In fact, they may even be slightly impressed that a citizen is practising safe security procedures, becoming a harder target and helping in the fight against crime.
To emphasise the main point,
BE VERY HESITANT IF UTILITY OR POLICE PERSONNEL BEGIN PUSHING FOR ENTRY
PRIOR TO YOU CONFIRMING THEIR IDENTITY!
They should not mind. They may not be over the moon (they will have to wait), but they should not try to pressure you to NOT call to verify.
Image by Dean Terry
Some Further Thoughts
If you don't have one, should you get a peep hole? A quick answer is yes, however I want to highlight one thing that should be taken into consideration.
Don't fall for what you see through the peep hole. If someone is dressed up like a gas man and looks the part, you are more likely to accept that that is who it is without verifying first. Be careful of this. Still verify first.
That is the main benefit of not having a peep hole. You cannot be influenced by what the person is wearing. Now I am not saying that all utilities personnel and police are actually serial killers in disguise but I am saying be pragmatic about it.
It is not often that these people come to your home. So when they do, take the time to verify their identity first. A peep hole can be a good aid, and are convenient for when friends have arrived as it saves having to ask.
Teach your child or children in what to do if someone knocks on the door. If someone knocks who is not family or friend, they should not open it and simply go and get a parent or adult. A child should not be expected to be able to discern a genuine visitor to a fake.
The main point is to NOT open the door at all, until the identity of the person calling has been identified. Make sure that the children of the home are taught something so they know what to do if someone knocks on the door when they are closest to it.