Door-knock burglaries or solicitor burglaries are becoming more common in many parts of the country. For those who reside in either small communities or large cities, it is important to be vigilant about who is knocking at the door. Burglars who use these techniques usually pose as salespeople or service workers. They knock on doors to pinpoint residences where nobody answers the door. After their knocks go unanswered, the burglars find unsecured windows, doors or other points of entry to force their way into homes. In some cases, they may drive through the neighborhood or sit outside of homes for long periods of time to assess the area and pinpoint residents’ patterns of arriving and leaving. There are several ways to stay safe and avoid becoming a victim of a daytime door-knock burglary. Use the following tips to increase safety:
– Give the appearance that someone is home. Do not ignore a knock, but always ask who is there without opening the door. If a solicitor refuses to go away after being told to do so, call the local police immediately.
– It is important to have as many deterrents as possible. Alarm systems, security cameras, dogs and signs indicating the home has a security system are all unattractive to burglars.
– If the home has a gate, keep it locked or closed whenever possible. Consider having a buzzer, speaker or bell installed at the gate instead of at the door.
– When a neighborhood has a watch program, all residents should display signs in their yards.
– Make sure all doors and windows are locked before leaving the home.
– For all valuables and electronics, have a special identification number engraved on them. Take photos of these items to keep in a safe place in the event that they are stolen.
– Always keep an inventory of personal property, and make sure it is kept current as new items are bought or old items are discarded. When applicable, write down corresponding serial numbers. Keep any receipts for valuable items in a locked file cabinet or other safe place.
If a burglary is taking place at a neighbor’s home or an emergency is suspected, call 911 immediately. Call the local police’s dispatch number if any other suspicious activity is noted. Homeowners should remember that alert neighbors are often the ones to thank for stopping burglaries and reporting incidents that lead to arrests. If everyone in the neighborhood works together and is vigilant, it is easier to catch these criminals. Police are there to help apprehend criminals and protect citizens of their communities, but they need the cooperation of everyone to make cities safer.