A knock at the front door might be one of the most innocuous things that could occur on any given day while you’re at home.
But in our increasingly high-tech and convenience-focused era, unexpected knocks at the door are becoming rarer and rarer, to the point where a stranger rapping on your front door can be mildly unsettling. Why might a stranger be knocking at your front door?
A stranger knocking on the door could be completely innocent, and the case of a visit from a government functionary or even a door-to-door salesman, or could have a more sinister purpose, namely a scouting run for a later burglary, opportunity for home invasion, or a distraction for the same.
It is a sad thing to consider that something as innocent as a knock at the door could herald a crime or attack against you, or at the very least, a form of harassment from someone you may or may knot know.
As sad as it is, you need to know how to handle this unknown contact that is quite literally upon your doorstep. We will give you additional consideration and possible scenarios below.
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Maybe It’s Nothing…
Before we go too much further, I must point out that in many places strangers knocking on your door is far from uncommon and is still entirely ordinary, even expected.
Although we can handle more and more administrative and functional tasks remotely through the wonders of the internet and smart devices, there are many things that must still be done through good old-fashioned grunt work and making contact with people at their homes.
Census takers at state and federal level are such employees that must go door to door on a mass scale as our workers who attend to various utilities, namely water, natural gas, and electricity.
Aside from these professions, salespeople and surveyors for any number of enterprises will be eager to peddle their wares and services to whoever might buy them, and going door to door is still a viable, if risky, business strategy.
Lastly, there might be someone that lives in your neighborhood or community knocking on your door for a specific reason. Schoolchildren and their parents often go door to door selling overpriced candy and other things for fundraisers.
You might have someone who has received a piece of your mail by mistake attempting to return it to you. These and many more scenarios besides are just a few completely innocent interactions that might set someone to knocking at the door.
Pretext to a Burglary
On the other hand, strangers knocking at your door might be an ill portent. Burglars and thieves use door knocks as low profile and surreptitious approaches for advanced work on a potential property.
A knock on the door is an easy way to get close to the home, look for security systems, ascertain the presence of occupants and how many, peep through windows, and more.
They might walk a neighborhood and approach homes that look promising, or even pull right up into your driveway.
Worryingly, professional thieves and burglars will use vehicles that are marked identically or similarly to common residential service businesses in order to escape notice and move about more freely.
Be wary of unusual, unknown, or shabby-looking business vehicles and employees moving around your neighborhood.
One chilling method of gaining entry into a home for criminal purposes is the door-knock home invasion robbery. For criminals to gain entry into your home they must enter through some portal, be it a door or window.
Assuming these entrances are locked, they must force entry. The easiest way to unlock a locked door when lacking a key is to have someone open it from the other side. This is where you, the unwitting victim, come in or rather let them come in.
When they knock at the door, under any pretenses, as soon as they hear the chain or latch come undone, the deadbolt snik back and the squeak of hinges they will bull rush the door or kick it in, likely injuring you, catching you unawares and storming your home.
Once this happens, you will quickly be secured and usually restrained while accomplices do whatever it is that they set out to do.
This is far and away one of the most common criminal methodologies for gaining access to a home during daylight hours so you must be on your guard when and if you decide to answer a knock at the door.
A door knock, during the day or at night, might be used to set up a home invasion or an infiltration by serving as a distraction.
When a person who is home alone goes to answer the door, they are distracted from other things, namely other entrances into their home and any security system that they might be monitoring.
This could allow an accomplice to sneak around on the property and either force entry somewhere else or attempt surreptitious entry then or later.
Even when multiple people are home, criminals know that usually, the protector of the home will answer an unexpected knock at the door.
This will be the parent if children are present or if both parents are present this is usually the man of the house. Knowing this affords home Invaders the initiative when dealing with the most likely threats that they might face.
No matter who is knocking at the door and seemingly for whatever purpose understand that there might be someone just out of sight that you cannot see who is maneuvering against you or going to attempt entry.
Just Don’t Answer the Door for People You Don’t Expect
So what is a homeowner to do in these situations? There is a knock at the door. You don’t expect any callers. What now? You can’t just ignore it, can you?
Actually, that is exactly what you can do. Rather I should say, don’t answer the door anytime you are not expecting someone. That’s it.
This will significantly reduce the likelihood of a confrontation or negative interaction that you will be hard-pressed to get yourself out of.
Now, you should be aware. When someone is at the physical perimeter of your home you must be on your guard. If you have a security system, by all means, consulted, sensors and cameras alike.
If you have a microphone and speaker system, simply tell them to leave, no explanation necessary. If it is someone important or they have a genuine need to be there, they can articulate it, leave a note, or whatever.
To those who claim that leaving a knock unanswered will only embolden burglars and thieves who think you are not home, this might be true in certain instances but uncertainty alone can be a hell of a deterrent to criminals.
Not for nothing, it’s far easier to defend your home from deeper inside it than very near an entrance where criminals can quickly come to grips with you.
If you legitimately suspect that a knock might be a pretense for a home invasion or break-in, you can arm yourself, warn them off, and call the police while you take up a defensive position.
A stranger knocking at your door might be entirely innocent or it might be a pretense for the commission of some crime, namely burglary then or at a later date, or even a home invasion robbery.
It is recommended that homeowners never answer the door for callers they are not expecting, but in any case, caution is warranted whenever a stranger is at your front door or anywhere on the perimeter of your home.
Charles Yor is an advocate of low-profile preparation, readiness as a virtue and avoiding trouble before it starts. He has enjoyed a long career in personal security implementation throughout the lower 48 of the United States.