In a day of social media and text messaging, it is very rare that a friend or neighbor show up unannounced at your door. Some people even joke that calling someone, rather than sending a text, is the modern equivalent of showing up at someone’s door. Whether or not that is true, you can probably agree that we live in a society that is more social online than in real life, so when someone you weren’t expecting comes knocking on your door, it can come as a shock. It feels rude to not answer, especially when you know that the knocker is aware of your presence. But resisting the urge to be polite could save your valuables and even your life. Here are unexpected reasons you should never answer the door for a stranger.
They may be assessing if you live alone
It could be a criminal, posing as a city inspector, plumber, or some other professional. His intention might be to assess whether you live with others, or by yourself. Individuals living solo are easier targets for crime. A quick peek into your home could give the person plenty of signs as to whether or not you live alone. Many criminals posing as some sort of professional may even ask, “How many residents live here?” pretending that it’s part of their job to ask.
They may be getting to know your schedule
The knock you answer may not be the first one that’s come from this solicitor. There could be burglars just trying to figure out your schedule, determining the best time to break in. They may have knocked on your door several times, figuring out what times you tend to be away, and what times you tend to be home.
They may be casing your layout
If you open the door, then the person on the other side can get a look at the layout of your house. Do you have a sliding glass door? A back door? An office where you keep precious art? The knocker could be a burglar just casing the layout of your home, determining a good way to break in later.
They may be checking out your valuables
The person at the door could also be trying to get a sense for how wealthy you are, and whether or not it would be worth their efforts to break in at a later time. A quick peek into your living room will show them items like expensive sound systems and silverware.
It could just be a distraction
The person knocking might just be trying to distract you while their partner sneaks into the back of your home. They may have a plan of dragging you into a long conversation, keeping you occupied while someone else steals things through the back door.
They could push their way in
If you do open the door, and the person pushes their way in, you would have little recourse. A criminal who pushes his way in is prepared to take violent action, and very few civilians are ready to handle that.
You can use an intercom
Smart doorbells solve the issue of ever having to answer the door, in order to find out what the person on the other side wants. These hook up to your smartphone, and from there, you can see the footage on the camera of the doorbell, and speak through the speakers.
Most professionals give notice
Even if the person claims to be from the city, performing some sort of inspection, or a contractor hired by your landlord, don’t open it right away. Keep in mind that landlords are obligated to give you at least 24 hours notice before anyone would enter the unit. If you own your home, know that inspectors from the city also tend to give notice, so there is no reason for someone to show up unannounced.
You are not obligated to
Ultimately, you are under no obligation to answer the door. You didn’t invite the person here or promise entry at any time. Remember that when someone comes knocking.