It can be unsettling when a stranger comes to your front door—especially if you’re home alone. That feeling isn’t unwarranted, as it’s common for intruders to knock on the front door or ring the doorbell to see if anyone’s home before attempting a break-in. Intruders also often pose as salespeople or maintenance professionals in an attempt to gain entry to your home.
So what are some measures you can take to stay safe when someone you don’t know comes to your front door? We’ve compiled a few tips on ways to handle the situation:
1. Take a peek.
Before you open the door, always check to see who’s there. Whether you have a peephole on your door or you choose to install security cameras, you should have some way to determine who’s at the door without opening it. Train yourself and everyone in your household—including your children—to see who’s at the door before opening it.
2. Call to someone in the house.
It may sound silly, but it’s not a bad idea to call out “I’ll get it!” or “Can someone get the door?” before answering. Even if you’re home alone, calling out to an “imaginary” friend before responding to the person at the door may make it seem like you’re not alone, which can intimidate potential intruders.
3. Don’t ignore them.
If you see a stranger at your door, it might be a knee-jerk reaction to pretend you didn’t hear them. However, if it’s a potential intruder, they could be knocking to see if it’s a good time to break in—while no one’s home. It’s better to address them or make some noise rather than to remain silent. Remember: the time of day doesn’t matter. In fact, the majority of break-ins occur midday.
3. Respond without opening.
Without opening the door, ask for strangers to identify themselves. Use an intercom or simply talk through the door. If they say they’re there for maintenance, survey, or sales purposes, ask for a phone number to call to confirm an appointment or their identity, and ask to see identification. If you don’t know who the person is or they make you uncomfortable, politely ask them to leave.
4. Keep information to yourself.
Never reveal anything too personal, and be aware of questions to watch out for. Someone contemplating a future break in might ask, “What hours do you usually work?” or “When will you be home tomorrow?” Don’t answer personal questions about you or any members of your household. If a stranger is particularly pushy or says they’re in trouble and in need of help, offer to call the police for them.
It’s wise to take precautions before opening your door to a stranger. Not everyone has ill intentions toward you and your family, but if someone is trying to gain access your home, it’s smart to know why. Next time there’s a face you don’t recognize at the door, follow our tips and stay safe!