You install a home security system to keep your home secure. If you leave your door unlocked, your garage door open, leave a key under the doormat, sleep with windows open, or simply fail to arm the system, you have effectively undone any security there might have been. If you open your door to a stranger…you have handed him your future. As the adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Whenever a workman (plumber, etc.) is in my home, I always check all of my doors and windows to be sure they’re locked after he has left. That way, I can be sure that he has not left himself an easy means of entry into my house. After hosting a party, I do the same thing. I double check to be sure everyone has their coats and purses, the candles are extinguished, and all doors and windows are secure.
If someone’s date comes to the door saying, “I think Susie left her purse,” I won’t open the door for him. Why? Because I owe him nothing. I’ve already checked to be sure no items were left behind, and why isn’t Susie there asking me herself? Treat suspicious situations as suspicious. Listen to your intuition, your gut feeling.
Courtesy can get you – women especially – into trouble. Simply opening the door of your home under the wrong circumstances can be a fatal mistake. The UPS delivery man does not need to come into your home. That teenager who says his car broke down nearby doesn’t need to use your phone…YOU can make a call for him. And while your attention is on the person on your front porch, stay aware of your surroundings and be sure he doesn’t have friends on your back porch trying to get in.
Last week’s post about familiar strangers addresses this concern as well. Here are two scenarios from my personal experience:
On a weeknight around 11:30 p.m., I heard a loud knock at the door. I looked out and saw three men in their early 20s. They were fanned out across my porch, with one in front and two flanking him.
“Our car broke down (insert vague gesture toward the highway here, as if I were going to look away from him), and I thought you might have a four-way tire iron,” said the guy in the middle.
“I don’t. Would you like me to call someone for you?” I asked through the door, a .357 in my hand. His hands were in his back pockets. His friends looked at their feet, my yard…everywhere but at me.
“No, we just wanted a tire iron. Well, we have one, but not a four-way,” he said.
“I don’t have one, sorry,” I said.
“Come on, I’ll bet she has a gun,” said one of his cohorts. They milled around on my porch for another minute or so.
I called the Highway Patrol, and an OHP Trooper showed up in under five minutes. Funny thing…the guys already had moved their car.
On a Saturday afternoon, I came to the door to find one of the tallest, most heavily muscled men I’ve ever seen, standing on my porch. He had knocked, then stepped back about five feet, and was holding his ball cap in front of him with both hands.
I said hello through the door, and he responded, “Ma’am, my car ran out of gas right over there (he turned and pointed to a car parked on the shoulder of the road), and I wonder if you could call my wife for me to let her know I’m running late…?” I made the call for him, and told him he was welcome to wait in the shade on my porch for his wife to come. She was there shortly with a gas can, and off they went.
Two similar, but very different scenarios. One situation was obviously shady, the other, clearly legitimate.
If someone gains entry into your home, your office, or your car…defend yourself with any means necessary, escape as soon as you possibly can, and call the police immediately. Don’t rationalize it away, and don’t worry about who is to blame. Get help, and keep it from happening again! But most of all, put your safety and security first, eliminating potential threats before they happen.