In the UK, over a million people live alone and many of them are elderly and vulnerable people. If you or an elderly relative living alone, it is important that you should be aware of how to answer the door safely. It is up to you, who you let into your home, but answering the doorbell is often risky regardless of your age. Therefore, knowing how to answer the door safely can prevent risking your life and property. Distraction burglary and bogus callers try to enter your home by claiming to be a salesman, utility company worker or any other person you need for any emergency work.
Genuine callers usually pre-arrange to come and see you by booking an appointment and will carry their identification. A service provider will have a phone number and password system. You can contact your service center to find out more. Take a habit of checking the identification and company phone number of any service-man before you let them into your home.
Be aware of
- Don’t let the callers in if they become agitated or try to hurry you.
- Always look up the company/agency number to check on them. But not on the number provided by them as this could be an accomplice. If you are unable to find the number don’t let them in.
- Distraction burglars often work in pairs; don’t let them in if you don’t know who they are, as one might distract you whilst the other can steal from the house.
- Don’t trust callers based on gender as even female callers can be a danger too.
- Fit a door chain so that you can latch it on before you open the door. Don’t leave it on all the time too as it may delay your exit in case of an emergency/danger inside the house.
- Make use of the front door spy hole to see the caller (if you have it) otherwise use a nearby window.
- If the above options are unable to talk to the caller through the door without opening it and ask them to show or pass their ID through the letterbox.
- Always keep your back door locked if you are answering the front door to someone you don’t know.
- Take a mobile or cordless telephone to the door with you so that you can call emergency service quickly.
- Install a camera on the front porch or near the door (if you can afford it).
Don’t let the person into your home if you are in doubt. You have the right to feel safe and comfortable in your own home. If you feel scared and anxious, call the police and let your neighbors know about it.