Regardless of the time of day or night, when a stranger knocks on your door, it can be uncomfortable or even frightening.
While we hope that no one tries to break into your home, a common tactic burglars use is to knock on someone’s door to see if anyone is there before entering. However, even if someone isn’t trying to break into your home, they could be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which can be just as dangerous.
To keep yourself and your home safe, here’s what we suggest you do when a stranger comes knocking:
- Perform a lock check
- See who it is (through peephole or camera)
- Speak with the person through the door
- Call the police (if needed)
Below, we’ll dive into a little more detail on how and why you should follow these steps to keep your home safe.
And if you’d rather speak to a friendly and knowledgeable Ackerman professional in person about balancing cost and protection, you can always give us a call at 800.552.1111, or schedule a free consultation online.
Step 1: Perform a lock check
If you hear someone at your front door, the first thing you should do is ensure your door is locked.
As we mentioned above, burglars may knock on your door to see if anyone is home before attempting to enter your home. Here’s the catch… some burglars will try to force their way into your home regardless of whether someone is home or not. So making sure your door is locked is an important first step.
What if you’re not home and you receive an alert from your security app that a stranger is knocking at your door? What happens if it’s just your child at home alone?
A great solution is a smart lock. This kind of system allows you to lock your door via your smartphone, so regardless of whether you’re at home or away, you don’t have to physically approach the door to lock it.
Step 2: Look through the security camera/peephole
Once you’ve confirmed that your door is locked, take a look at who’s at your front door by looking through a peephole, a window, or checking your doorbell or front door security cameras.
A doorbell camera or a security camera pointed at your front door is probably the best way to check to see who’s outside your house. Security cameras usually deliver a very clear picture, so they can act as a high-tech peephole when they’re connected to your smartphone.
Regardless of the method, check out who’s approached your home and get a gut check on whether the person is trustworthy or not.
If not, don’t let your guard down. Even if the people outside your door are a woman and her kid, stay vigilant, and turn to Step 3.
Step 3: Ask who it is and talk to them through the doorbell camera or door
You’re not obligated to open your door.
Simply reply to whoever is at your front door by asking, “Who is it?”
Again, don’t let your guard down here. Many burglars and scammers will pretend like they’re in danger or need help in order to get you to open your door.
For example, someone might say they have a car issue and need to use your phone. Instead of letting them inside, tell them you’ll make the call for them.
If they claim they’re hurt (perhaps from a car accident), tell them to hang tight while you call 911 for them.
If they claim to be a service person (like from the cable company), tell them to call you to set up an appointment. No service person should show up to your home without an appointment.
If the person complains that they can’t hear you through the door, this is a great time to use your doorbell camera to speak with them through the built-in speaker and microphone.
Regardless of the story, stay behind your closed door. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Step 4: Call the police if the person leaves quickly (or doesn’t leave)
If you’ve done all of the above and the person leaves quickly, that’s suspicious behavior, and you should call the police.
On the flip side, if you’ve offered a solution or asked the person to leave and they remain in front of your door or are growing agitated or aggressive, you should call the police.
To help the police out, try to burn into your mind what the person looked like, the clothes they wore, any distinguishing features, where they went, the type of vehicle they drove. Etc.
If you do have a doorbell or security camera, you can show the police this video footage to help them find the person or people.
Follow the #1 rule: Keep yourself and your home safe first!
Remember, when a stranger approaches your door, your #1 priority should be the safety of yourself and your home.
While it can be uncomfortable not to open your door to someone who is distressed or agitated, we strongly advise you don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation by opening your door to someone you don’t know.
If you want support in keeping your home safe or are interested in any of the home security tools we mentioned above, call Ackerman at 800.552.1111. We’d love to speak with you about how to keep your home safe.
Schedule a free security consultation today!