Archive for November, 2012

Suspicious Individual Pounding on Door Last Night

UPDATE: The man was found by Sheriff’s deputies and arrested, presumably for suspicion of disorderly conduct, or something similar.

Last night, one of our neighbors had an odd encounter with an unknown man.  About midnight, they heard someone pounding on their front door and ringing the doorbell.  The man outside was shouting and crying, then sitting on the front porch crying and talking to himself.  The homeowner called 911.  When the man heard the homeowners’ dog barking, he got agitated again and started yelling asking who was in there and to let him in, while still sobbing.  By the time Sheriff’s deputies arrived, the man had left their home.  The deputies told the homeowner they would drive around the neighborhood and see if they could find him.  It is unknown whether deputies found the man, or whether he disturbed any other homes in our area.

From this, I have two reminders for my fellow homeowners:

First, calling 911 is absolutely the right thing to do in this situation.  For all you know, the man could be drunk, or under the influence of drugs, and he could be armed.  The right thing to do here is to stay in your home, ensure your doors and windows are locked, and wait for law enforcement to arrive.  It takes several minutes for police to arrive, so if a person’s actions begin to cross the line into attempting to forcefully enter your home you’re in a dangerous situation that may warrant defensive actions on your part.  Only you can decide when that line has been crossed, and what actions you should take.  Consult a lawyer about the legal nuances surrounding self defense.

Second, do not open your door to anyone you don’t know.  Sometimes the situation seems harmless enough.  Maybe it’s raining and cold, and a teenage girl is outside without a coat, crying.  And maybe she’s got two friends hiding around the corner, ready to rush at you the moment they hear the door open.  There are too many stories out there of people opening the door to strangers, only to have those strangers invade the home.  Every situation is different, so I can’t recommend you talk to the person through your closed door to figure out what’s going on, but in some situations, that may be helpful.  Use your best judgment, and trust your instincts.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

There are urban legends/hoaxes about people using recordings of a crying baby to get homeowners to open their door.  There aren’t any confirmed cases of this actually happening, but it’s useful as a reminder to stay alert, and stay safe.  Our homes all have peep-holes installed in our front doors.  Use them!  Don’t open the door for anyone you don’t know.  And when I say anyone, I mean ANYONE, including police.  In Tucson, AZ, two men dressed as police officers invaded a home when the homeowner opened the door to them! [link]  If you didn’t call the police, it is entirely appropriate to ask for the officers’ names and badge numbers and then call 911 to verify the officers are legit, before speaking with them further.  If they’re legit, they’ll understand your hesitation.  If they’re not, you may have just saved your life.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I recommend you replace the screws in your door hinges and strike plates with 3″ or longer screws.  Long enough to penetrate through the door jamb, into the stud behind it.  Here’s a link with other home security tips that are easy to do with just a little bit of know-how.

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