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Police Explain How to Answer the Door

It might seem like a no-brainer, but there is a specific way to make sure you protect yourself from burglars.

If you’re home during the day and hear a knock at the door, your first instinct might be to ignore the probable solicitor, but that’s not always the best idea, according to the Tampa and Temple Terrace police departments.

In an email forwarded by Community Service Officer Tracy Mishler to members of the Temple Terrace Crime Watch Aug. 6, Lisa Timmer, TPD’s neighborhood affairs liaison, explained why.

“When an uninvited guest knocks at your door, you may be tempted to stay quiet so they leave,” she wrote. “This will work if it is truly a door to door solicitor, however, if it is a burglar, they may be checking to see if you are home.”

According to Timmer, here’s what you should do instead:

  • Answer loudly through the door, state that you are busy, and tell whoever is on the other side to have a nice day. Say this is a firm voice.
  • If they continue to knock and make excuses, loudly inform them through the door that you are calling the police. This will usually send them packing.
  • Call Temple Terrace Police Non-Emergency at 813-989-7110 or Tampa Police Non-Emergency at 813-231-6130, depending on where you live.
  • Give the best description you can and the direction of travel.

“Hopefully, an officer will intercept them and find out what their true motive was behind going door to door,” Timmer said.

Tracy C. August 09, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Great advise. I know many parents whose kids are just starting to be old enough to stay home by themselves. They should all read this article!! Thank you for the safety reminder.
Kurt Callarman August 09, 2012 at 01:36 PM
HCSO number is 247-8200, All of Live Oak and parts of Cross Creek Area is in the County district
Terry August 09, 2012 at 01:56 PM
When you approach the door... lead with your foot and hands. Most people lead with their face because they are going to look through the peep hole. This can be a problem if someone kicks the door in and your face is all that is stopping it. Also, don't neglect the other doors. Someone could be knocking to get your attention focused, so their partner can come in the back door. Don't just look at the person in the peep hole look behind them for shadows, feet etc. Home invaders like to hide to the sides and rush you once the door opens. If you decide to open the door, keep your foot (heel to the floor, ball and toes on the door) and upper body propped against it to provide positive control. Finally have your cell phone with you and a means of counter attack (like pepper spray) in your hands, or on your body (pocket). These little things... positive control of the door, hyper-awareness, and means of discouraging an attacker can throw potential home invader off and give you time to call for help.
John Majeski August 09, 2012 at 02:13 PM
You're welcome, Tracy! Kurt, thanks for pointing that out.
John Majeski August 09, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Thanks for sharing, Terry!

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