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March 27, 2012 > Knock, knock... who's there?

Knock, knock... who's there?

Submitted By Tim Jones, Newark PD

No it's not a joke, its real life... knowing when to open and when not to open the front door. It is important to have a family action plan in place for how to handle the infamous "knock knock" at the front door.

The general rule of thumb for young family members is not to open the door unless they know for sure who it is and a parent or guardian has told them that it's okay to open the door. They should also be reminded not to give out any indication that they are home alone (if they are old enough to be home alone) and instead should use comments like, "My dad can't come to the door right now," or even making out loud comments in the house that would leave someone to believe they are not home alone, such as, "Mom, someone is at the door."

I have a security chain on my door that I can use so that we can "crack" the door open and talk with someone, isn't that ok?

No, not really. The chain provides very little security strength with very short screws holding the chain plate in place and it can easily be popped out if the door is forced. Talk to people without opening the door.

For adults home alone, there can be those annoying door knocks which poses the question, "Do I answer or not?" Here's some food for thought; the majority of home burglars are looking for one type of house only; an unoccupied home when the knock at the door comes, and the person inside reacts by becoming overly silent (hoping the visitor will go away) they are sending one message only... no one is home. So if the visitor at the door is looking for that unoccupied home, they think they've just found it.

So here's the plan: when the knock comes during those unusual hours, don't pretend you're not home, but instead let them know you ARE home. If you're alone, announce out loud in the house "I'll get the door. This alerts the person on the front porch that there must be more than one person home and if they were intent on committing a crime, they will certainly think twice. Then go to the front door and talk to them through the door without opening it, even a crack. Indicate that you and your housemate(s) are not interested and that they can leave information about their cause and you'll get it later.

To learn more about home security and to start a Neighborhood Watch in your area, please contact:

Tim Jones
Special Assistant
Community Engagement Division
Newark Police Dept.
(510) 578-4209

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