Distraction Burglary is a crime that effects people of all ages, but in particular the elderly and vulnerable members of our communities. It involves criminals knocking at your door as Bogus Callers. This can range from them imitating workmen and engineers, to police officers or even vulnerable people seeking sympathy. The aim is to either con their way inside your home to commit a burglary, or keep you distracted long enough to allow an accomplice to slip in through a back door or window.
To help you avoid falling victim to Distraction Burglary, we have provided this helpful checklist based on the Lock, Stop, Chain, Check process for what you should do when there’s a knock at the door:
Are you expecting anyone? – If not, consider whether you should answer at all, particularly if it is after dark.
Can you see who is calling? – Using a peephole, electronic door viewer, intercom, or even just glancing out of a window can help you establish if the caller may be suspicious.
You’ve decided to answer. – Before you open the door, are your back doors and windows shut and locked? This will prevent sneak-in burglaries whilst you are occupied at the front door.
Have you applied your door chain? – These essential bits of kit allow the identification and verification of callers, without allowing them access. The higher quality chain the better.
You’ve partially opened the door with your door chain applied. – If the caller is a stranger then ask them who they are and what they want.
Is the caller claiming to be in trouble or that their car has broken down etc? – Do not feel obligated to invite them in or to leave your home, offer to call the police or breakdown recovery. Don’t worry about being rude, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Is the caller claiming to be from an organisation? – Ask to see some ID. Ensure you check it closely; a genuine caller won’t mind handing their credentials over.
Does their ID seem genuine? – If you’re not sure, call the organisation they claim to represent. Always try and use a number you find yourself (e.g. online) rather than the one that’s on their ID.
If you decide to call their organisation. – Shut the door again whilst doing so. A genuine caller will understand and won’t mind waiting.
Does everything check out? – You’ve now completed the Lock, Stop, Chain, Check process for identifying Bogus Callers and combatting Distraction Burglary. You can return to your visitor with confidence. However if you’re still in doubt, just keep them out!