Whether or not people call at your house during the day or during the night, there are some basic checks you should do before opening your door.

Firstly, speak to the person, ascertain who they are and what they want. If you have a peephole or a security chain you may be able to look at the person first or alternatively, look through a near-by side window.

Whilst security chains are a good idea, they are often only as strong as the small screws that secure them to the door and frame. Your door is strongest when it is closed. Steel mesh security doors (not flimsy insect doors) are good protection, allowing you to talk with the caller before you open the door.

Do not indicate that you are alone, it is a good idea for women living alone to yell out to a fictitious person in the house, for example “John, I’ll get the door”.

Do not let officials or other persons inside unless you are satisfied that they are genuine, this includes the Police. In the case of uniform Officers you should be able to see the Policeman in uniform or their patrol vehicle, if not perhaps they will go to a nearby window for you.

In the case of Detectives wearing plain clothes, they are required to carry and produce their Police Identification to you.

In either case, if you are suspicious of the person claiming to be a Policeman you could always ring 111 and ask whether or not there is currently a Policeman outside your house. If the Police Control Room state that there is not, they then ought to get the Police to your address promptly to see who is there.

For people/women living alone it is a good idea to leave items at your door, such as a men’s pair of shoes or gumboots, or even an old dog bowl and chain, indicating that you have a dog in the house.

Do not let strangers into your house to use the telephone. You can refer them to the Police Station or ask if you can make the call for them.

Do not let strangers inside your house for a drink of water or to use the toilet. This can be a ploy for them to get inside your house and remove items of value, and some may even assault you once they get in.

The last two excuses (and asking for a fictitious person), are often used when the person was not expecting a reply to the door and was hoping that no one was home so that they may then commit a burglary on the house.

At any time you think you have a prowler on your property, or you believe that a person on your property is acting suspiciously you can dial 111 and ask for the Police. They are happy to respond to such calls even if it turns out that there was nothing to worry about.

Lastly, it is a good idea to keep your front door closed and locked when you are working or relaxing at the rear of your property. If you have a gate across your drive, close it at night if you are not expecting visitors.