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Knock-Knock Crimes on the Rise

Hand knocking on the doorA home invasion robbery is a terrifying experience. The crime represents an alarming invasion of privacy which disrupts the place people should feel safe. Unfortunately, the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, as dozens of people have been targeted by a home invasion referred to as “knock-knock” crimes. This increasingly common event is troublesome, because criminals find it relatively simple to execute. A thief can work alone, knocking on doors in any given neighborhood until he or she discovers an empty house, or in a group – one person knocking and then standing guard, while others break in. Another tactic is for criminals to take advantage of homeowners by falsely claiming that they kicked a ball into the resident’s yard or that they need to use the phone because their car broke down and their cellphone battery died – all as a means of entering the home.

What can homeowners and/or tenants do to prevent such intrusions?

Here are some possible deterrents to knock-knock crimes:

  • Don’t open the door unless you know who is knocking. A simple, “No thanks, not interested” may be all it takes to convince the suspect to move along. Most criminals look for targets of opportunity. So make sure you remain alert. If a stranger at your door claims to work a utility company, ask to see his or her I.D. badge and pay attention to whether or not the visitor is wearing a uniform. Also, check to make sure he or she arrived in a labeled utility truck. Remember – it’s your home; you’re in charge. Better safe than sorry.

    Check the ID of anyone who claims to work for a utility company.

    Check the ID of anyone who shows up at your door, claiming to work for a utility company.

  • Companies such as Ring offer “smart doorbells,” which feature video cameras as well as smartphone alerts. These tools allow the user to talk via their cellphone directly into the doorbell speaker. These doorbells aren’t foolproof, and users need to be actively using their phones to deter thieves. However, the apps provide video footage of suspects, which could be useful to law enforcement.
  • Do not hesitate to call police. If you feel threatened or see a burglary in progress at a neighbor’s home, dial 9-1-1.
  • Keep your phone handy when you are at home. A teenage girl who was home alone at the time of a recent home invasion talked to authorities while robbers were tearing apart her home.
  • Lock windows and doors when you are away from home. Use motion sensor lights, and “Beware of Dog” signs. The more deterrents you can place in the path of thieves, the better.
  • Use a safe. Criminals using the knock-knock method are looking for a quick score. A secured and heavy safe is an easy and affordable way to deter theft of valuable possessions. Choose a safe that is sufficient to contain your valuables and heavy enough to eliminate the potential of robbers making off with the locked safe.

Thieves don’t just use distraction as an element of surprise in knock-knock crimes. Consider these other scams:Businessman and gas station

  • Robbed while pumping gas. This crime occurs when a person driving solo has to exit the vehicle to purchase and pump gas. Most people make the mistake of leaving car doors unlocked. So, when their attention is fixed on swiping and entering credit card information, a thief squats down so he or she can quietly open the passenger side door to grab a purse or phone. To avoid this type of crime, lock your doors as you exit your car. And stay next to or inside the car while pumping gas. Criminals engaged in this type of theft are known as “sliders,” a reference to the thieves sliding alongside cars under the guise of buying gas.
  • Watch for pickpockets. When traveling through crowded areas, such as in airports or subways, keep a hand on your valuables. A common pickpocketing scam is for thieves to yell, “Someone stole my wallet” and then watch as potential victims instinctively grab their wallets or purses – disclosing the location of their valuables.

The Allied Universal Training System now offers residential training modules. Our system is designed to help keep building occupants safe…whether they are at home or at work. Remember that safety is a daily priority. Staying aware of common scams and threats is essential for protecting your property, life, and family. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Allied Universal, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

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