Many senior citizens are living alone in their own homes or in multiple family units, such as apartment complexes, condominiums, assisted living facilities, senior housing developments, Federal Housing, or Veteran Homes.
If a stranger were to knock on the door or repeatedly ring doorbells with the excuse that there was a Christmas package to deliver, could that request be convincing enough to a resident living alone? Could that resident allow this stranger entry into their home or apartment building under this false pretense?
The answer is YES. It can happen.
A person with poor intentions may use special times of the year, such as the Holiday Season, to enter your home or a secure apartment complex. He may ring your doorbell or someone else’s doorbell nonstop to get your undivided attention. As a result of this continuous ringing, you may feel pressured to let the stranger in just to make them stop ringing your doorbell.
BUT, BE AWARE of what can happen if a stranger gets inside your home or building. If you live in an apartment complex for example, the stranger may not go to YOUR door with the gift package. Instead, he may be looking for unlocked apartments where he may find cash on the kitchen countertop, exposed credit cards, social security cards, exposed purses or wallets, or other valuable or personal property.
How can we defend ourselves in a situation like this?
If someone you don’t know repeatedly rings your doorbell and you’re not expecting a gift package, ask for their identification. Surely they will have their UPS or Federal Express employee identification card and their driver’s license on hand to present to you upon your request. DO NOT let them in. Verify all information they give you. If they refuse to give you identification and a good reason for their visit, call the Police Department in your community. Make sure to keep your doors locked while you wait for the officer to arrive. If the stranger leaves before the police arrive, give the Police Officer a good description of that person for a neighborhood canvas. This will help keep any intruders away and your neighborhood safer during the Holiday Season.
From the desk of Officer Jane Constant
Senior Relations Division