Bogus Callers: How to Keep Your Distance and Stay Safe
By Tony Parkes
Sep 10, 2015
Distraction burglaries – where a criminal calls at a home asking for help or posing as an official – are becoming more and more of an issue. Local police forces and local authorities have been helpfully issuing practical advice on how to protect yourself. In this post we are sharing some of this advice, and adding in some guidance of our own on security measures we believe will enhance your levels of protection against bogus callers.
One major mistake that many people make when they spot an unknown caller at the door is to ignore them. However, it is crucial that you DO acknowledge the call because it could be that a potential intruder is checking to see whether anyone is at home before attempting a break in.
For the same reason, you should ensure that you are always able to hear a call at the door. If you are in the back garden, or an area of the house that is not in earshot of the door, then a remote doorbell is a good investment so you can always be aware of callers. Carry it with you wherever you are on your property. According to the Crime Prevention website, evidence of occupancy is very high on the decision making list of the 62% of burglars who prefer to burgle an unoccupied house. An unanswered door can lead to an incorrect assumption that you are not in.
Batten Down the Hatches
Of course, if you are going to acknowledge an unexpected caller, then you will need to take steps to protect yourself.
So firstly, lock the back door, and then close the windows. A distraction burglar’s aim is to distract after all, and by getting you to the front door, their accomplice can take the opportunity to access your property from the back or side.
Rather than answer the door, if you live in a house then you have the option of nipping upstairs and identifying and talking to the caller from a front first floor window. Otherwise, if your front door is the only option, then this is where you will need to take precautions. Installing readily available security measures will assist you in this respect.
Precautionary Security Measures
Most front doors are fitted with obscured glass and sometimes no glass at all. Clear panelled doors are your best bet for instant recognition of callers, and they can be covered with curtains for privacy, so you may wish to consider replacing any obscured glass with clear.
Alternatively, if you are replacing your front door, consider one with a secure vision panel. This consists of a triple glazed obscured glass panel. An internal handle allows you to move the centre panel up and down, revealing the scene outside the door.
A spyhole viewer is another option. These have fish eye style lenses that give you a direct, wide angled view of who is outside.
You may also consider a prism viewer which displays a projected view of a caller onto a screen on the back of the door. You’ll need lights outside if you want to use these viewers at night, so you could install a dusk to dawn low level light to accompany it. Prism viewers allow you to see a clear image from up to two metres away. They are particularly useful if you wear glasses and find a traditional spyhole viewer difficult to use, or if you cannot reach up to see through one.
Electronic door viewers are possibly the most efficient means of identifying callers safely from a distance. A digital camera captures a live image of the caller outside, transmitting it onto a small monitor inside your home. You’ll be able to view the image from several metres away. The lens of the camera is the only part of the set-up that is installed outside, from where it looks much like a spyhole viewer.
Some electronic door viewers have recording features, offering the benefit of seeing who has been at the door when you have been out. They also allow you to zoom in and out to get the best view, and have an LED light for better night vision.
Help with Staying Safe in your Home
If you’d like some personalised advice on staying safe in your home and warding off the risks of bogus callers, why not call in to see the security experts at Barry Bros Security? Our showroom is located in central London close to Paddington station, or you can give us a call or drop us a line. We look forward to being of assistance.