Security systems are effective at deterring crime and sending burglars away, but you have to do your part too. Intruders can be bold and are known to deceive residents in order to get into homes – not just while you are away at night, but in broad daylight and while you are there. Be alert and vigilant to prevent becoming a victim to intruders.
At increasing rates, intruders who want money and valuables are entering homes when the resident opens the door. In April, as St. Louis man posed as a UPS driver and pretended to have a package for an elderly woman. He pushed his way into the home, took her money and other valuables then bound her to the stove. As of May 20, this suspect has still not been apprehended. Thankfully she was not hurt, but other home invasion victims are not so fortunate.
In a case in Virginia, a woman tricked a sympathetic resident to open the door. The woman cried and called for help just outside the door but when the unsuspecting resident opened the door to assist, a man who had been hiding assaulted and robbed her.
It is regrettable that the growing number of cases like these may cause us to think twice before helping someone. But it is good to be aware of some common schemes so we can be alert and distinguish between someone truly in need and someone who seeks to do harm.
- Keep your doors locked, when you are home and when you are not
- Install and use a peephole that will allow you to see who is at your door but doesn’t allow them to see you
- Do not open the door to anyone you do not know and trust
- Before opening the door for a delivery, look for delivery vehicles with logos matching the company the delivery person claims to represent
- If you are compelled to help someone outside your home call police or a trusted family member first to tell them what is happening. Before unlocking the door, announce that you have called the police and they are on the way.
It is human nature to want to help or see what may be happening outside your door, but do not sacrifice your safety for the sake of your curiosity. When in doubt, pretend you are not home and call police immediately if you are threatened or see someone acting suspiciously around your home.