Safety Considerations While Answering the Door

I recently watched a news broadcast that featured a story where a woman came to a man’s door asking to use the phone because she claimed to have car problems.  He ended up sending her away, only to have to shoot at her and her accomplice when they came back to rob him.  The man and those in his house were uninjured, the woman was arrested, and her accomplice died.  Things went well for this man, but after watching the story (I watched it online) I was targeted with numerous other videos in which people did not fare so well.  Here are some of the things that can be learned from these people’s experiences of answering the door to a stranger pretending not to be a threat and ultimately attacking them.


  1. Use a peep-whole when one is available.
  2. Use a chain-lock when available, if a chain-lock is not installed on the door only open the door a few inches as you would if a chain-lock was in place, keep a foot firmly pressed against the bottom of the door to prevent it from being pushed open. Your foot will do much more than both of your hands could, especially if the attacker is larger than you.
  3. If it is later than one would normally expect someone to knock on the door, ask who it is before opening it, and bring a weapon with you when you go to the door.
  4. Keep the weapon in the hand that is toward the opening of the door, not the hinges. Otherwise, if you need to use it you will have to move back and allow the door to open more and your attacker in to get your weapon in the fight.
  5. If they ask to use a phone, say okay, then close the door and offer to make the call for them through the closed door, anyone who was really in need would be happy with this option, if they are not happy tell them to leave through the closed door rather than telling them no when they still have the opportunity to force the door all the way open.
  6. Never give them any information such as who else is inside, whether you are alone, or any information about your neighbors.

It’s a shame that you can’t just let anyone inside that claims to have car problems while they wait for a tow, but that’s just not the world we live in.  Don’t let someone con you into a false sense of security, even if it is a woman or a young kid, there could be an accomplice.  Always make sure you are keeping yourself safe first, then you can help them.

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