Beware of Strangers at the Door

On December 12th Antioch Officers responded to the report of a prowler at a residence in the southeast area of Antioch. The resident reported that someone had forced open her side garage door.

Approximately 15 minutes prior to hearing the garage door being kicked in, the resident reported two male suspects were ringing her door bell, but she didn’t answer the door. These suspects were undoubtedly the ones who forced open the garage door and were planning on burglarizing the home. Fortunately, they left before committing the crime.

The resident was able to provide detailed descriptions of the suspects as well as the vehicle they were driving and their direction of travel when they left the area. This information was crucial for the responding officers and it assisted them in locating the suspects.

The vehicle they were in had been reported stolen. The suspects tried to elude the officer, but crashed the car and then fled on foot into the neighborhood. Responding officers established a perimeter and conducted a yard-to-yard search for the suspects. They were successful in apprehending one of the suspects who had an extensive criminal history.

The suspects in this case would have been further deterred had the resident taken the following steps when the suspect’s first rang the door bell.

Some people who go door-to-door are motivated for legitimate reasons, but others are motivated to commit burglaries or thefts. Here are some measures that will help curb these types of crimes:

When someone knocks at your door, always acknowledge you are home. Talk through the door without opening it. If you don’t answer, and it happens to be a criminal, they may attempt to break into your home.

You are not obligated to open the door for anyone. Identification should always be verified before opening the door. A wide-angle door viewer is necessary if you cannot see the person at your door. A service representative should have an appointment and should not just “show up” at your door.

Do not rely on a door chain for security. Partially opening a door equipped with a door chain is not a safe practice. The door is not secured. A door chain cannot withstand physical force. To ensure your safety, follow these simple steps:

Talk to the person through the door. If you don’t know the person, don’t open the door.

Ask the person what they need. If it is a car problem, offer to call their road service for them. If it is an accident, call 911 for them. The idea is to keep them outside and you make the call for them.

Ask them to stand by while you place the call. If the person(s) stays, it is a good chance that they are legitimate; however, if they leave quickly, they are probably up to no good.

As with any suspicious circumstances, information about the suspect is a great benefit to the police who are responding to locate the suspect. Take a good look at their face, clothing, any distinguishing features, direction of travel, other persons with them, vehicle, etc.

If the person leaves quickly, consider it to be suspicious and report the activity by calling Police Dispatch. You can call 911 if it’s an emergency or the non-emergency number (925) 778-2441 if an emergency doesn’’t exist.

If you have concerns about the person knocking on your door and are thinking about calling the police, err on the side of caution and make the call. It is better to pass the information on. It may just be the very piece of information the police need to stop an individual whose only purpose is to victimize you or your neighbor.

Remember, being aware, being observant and getting involved, will make our community safer.

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