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How late is too late to answer a knock at the front door?


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#1 of 80 OFFLINE   Peter Kim

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Posted September 09 2003 - 04:29 AM

It doesn't happen often, but a couple of times in the past year, my family has been bothered by hard knocking at the front door at around 1 in the morning. Just curious what the common etiquette/common sense everyone here subscribes to? At that late at night, would you expose yourself to a stranger? I'm excusing the possibility of a friend/family (someone who obviously should know better, or call ahead to alert). Since I'm a news hound, perhaps I'm too sensitized to reports of the latest criminal trend, house assaults. And to the higher likelihood that a stranger making that late of a night call is of a less scrupulous kind (if not true, at least the impression). So, any thoughts? Ignore, approach cautiously with a baseball bat, or answer with milk & cookies?
my girls rock Balenciaga & smoke mad marijuana - M.O.B.

#2 of 80 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted September 09 2003 - 04:39 AM

I would never answer the door at that hour.

#3 of 80 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted September 09 2003 - 04:55 AM

Especially if the knocker is humming "Singin in the Rain".

Posted Image
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#4 of 80 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted September 09 2003 - 04:58 AM

[quote] So, any thoughts? Ignore, approach cautiously with a baseball bat, or answer with milk & cookies? [quote]
The idea of having a front door that doesn't have a small window, or even a peep-hole (most apartments do) to look though before you open the door is a silly idea. Or you can take the high-buck route and get a security camera with monitor. (expensive but cool, get a nightvision security camera to impress anyone who visits your housePosted Image )

And trying to swing a baseball bat through a doorway is tricky at best. I suggest a spear or other stabbing weapon, if not a firearm.Posted Image
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#5 of 80 OFFLINE   Leila Dougan

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Posted September 09 2003 - 05:04 AM

I'd never answer the door. I figure if it's a stranger and it's really important, they'd have cops with them. Cops are good at letting you know who they are.

#6 of 80 OFFLINE   StephenK

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Posted September 09 2003 - 05:48 AM

If you don't have a peephole or viewing window, it takes a drill, 5 minutes and $20 of supplies from Home Depot to install one.

Since you didn't mention what happened when you went to answer the door, I assume it was some drunk idiot or punk kids. If so, and your local laws permitting, the "clack-clack" of a pump action shotgun is readily identified through a closed door and should prevent a repeat visit. Posted Image

#7 of 80 OFFLINE   Ron-P

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Posted September 09 2003 - 06:34 AM

I've never had to answer a door that late, but if I did...i'd unlock my gun safe, withdraw my 9mm Beretta loaded with Glaser safty rounds, then approach the door (which has a window near the top).


Peace Out~Posted Image
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#8 of 80 OFFLINE   Jared_B

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Posted September 09 2003 - 06:49 AM

Ron has the right idea. I'd answer with my Glock in one hand, Surefire light in the other, and cell phone in my pocket. If I actually heard the knock from my bedroom, I would answer it. My roommate and I tend to be up late a lot, so a knock at 1am wouln't be totally abnormal. Any knock during the night would probably just be some of our friends thinking we were having a party.

#9 of 80 OFFLINE   Peter Kim

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Posted September 09 2003 - 07:02 AM

[quote] Since you didn't mention what happened when you went to answer the door, I assume it was some drunk idiot or punk kids. [quote]

In one case, it was a bunch of drunk college kids looking for a house party (we live near a college campus). I must have looked angry/upset, so when I parted the curtain on the door window, they immediately stepped back away from the door and held up their hands. I then cracked open the door (with the chain still hooked) and told them I didn't know.

Then 2nd instance was a bit more cloudy and frightening and opened a whole new can of worms. Again, I opened the curtain to peek outside and find a older lady (40's?), very poorly dressed, and decrepit hair, asking to step inside and use my phone.

Based on her appearance and craggy tone, I put aside benevolence and told her that a phone was 2 blocks over at the 76. However, she insisted that I let her use the phone (missed the bus...needed to call a friend) for a good 5 minutes. After refusing the whole time, she left in a huff. I had to make a call based on my instincts, and in this case, I felt bad about her demeanor/appearance.

There was another time where a young (20's) guy asked for me to tag along in his pickup so that I could use my credit card to fill up his gas tank. He asserted that he would pay me back upon arrival at his friend's house. He refused to leave and sounded very desperate (nearly mendicant), so I offered him $5.

He refused and asked to borrow my credit card. Posted Image I told him I could do no more than what I offered and said good night.

It's situations like these, when I feel like my family is in jeopardy, that make me consider buying a handgun.
my girls rock Balenciaga & smoke mad marijuana - M.O.B.

#10 of 80 OFFLINE   Tommy Ceez

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Posted September 09 2003 - 07:13 AM

Dude, you need an anvil on a tripping mechanism over your front door!
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#11 of 80 OFFLINE   DonRoeber

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Posted September 09 2003 - 08:24 AM

We're a bunch of Renn Faire geeks, so we have some swords in our living room, just sitting in the corner. The Glamdring replica is -very- sharp, and I'm comfortable weilding it. My fiancee is much smaller than me, so Sting is more her size. Heck, on nights that I'm not there, she sleeps with a dagger under her pillow. I wouldn't answer the door late most of the time. If I'm in bed, all of my friends have cell phones, so they could call and tell me they were standing outside.
Luckily, right at that moment, an unconscious Argentinean fell through my roof.

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#12 of 80 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted September 09 2003 - 08:28 AM

I'd definitely get a peephole put in. I would be too curious to see who is knocking on my door at that hour to not take a look.

It may be someone in need of medical attention, or maybe a drunken ex-girlfriend making a bootie call. Posted Image

Actually, I had a knock on my door not too long ago only to find it was the neighbor lady who works second shift coming home from work. Apparently my car had slipped out of gear and rolled backwards down the driveway into the street and was blocking traffic! :b I live on a dead end street so, there's not much traffic at that hour, luckily.

#13 of 80 OFFLINE   StephenK

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Posted September 09 2003 - 08:38 AM

Peter, That's some weird sh*t. If you don't mind me asking, where generally is this? The lady and credit card guy sound like scams/robbery attempts. Do you live right on a major road where you might get weird foot traffic? Btw, I wasn't kidding about the shotgun, even in states with restrictive handgun laws, long rifles/shotguns are much easier to get, in most states, with only a driver's license as ID. When I was a kid and lived in the burbs, my family had a weird series of late night door knocking/running away by some neighborhood brats. My father really did get a shotgun (borrowed at the time), and scared the shit out of them. Never happened again. You don't even have to load it, just the barrel, held down and away and visible through the door crack would get the message across.

#14 of 80 OFFLINE   Leila Dougan

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Posted September 09 2003 - 08:51 AM

The only time I remember someone knocking on my door at 2am was the neighbor that lived below me. My apartment (3rd floor) had some plumming problems earlier that evening and the apartment maintenance crew said the situation was contained and they'd be back in the morning. All was well until my neighbored woke me up, wondering if I was okay. Apparently he woke up to get a drink of water, only to find himself in an inch of standing water. Posted Image

#15 of 80 OFFLINE   Peter Kim

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Posted September 09 2003 - 08:52 AM

[quote] Do you live right on a major road where you might get weird foot traffic? [quote]

You've got a keen eye, Stephen...I do live a block off of a major road where I suspect it's easy for the occassional footscum to foray for an easy get.

I'm not averse to getting a firearm...I've been trying to convince my wife, who is from Japan (should speak for itself), for the last couple of years.
my girls rock Balenciaga & smoke mad marijuana - M.O.B.

#16 of 80 OFFLINE   Joe Szott

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Posted September 09 2003 - 09:34 AM

Peter,

I would do as advised here and get a peephole installed. It is really cheap, really convienent, and allows it so that you neither need open your door or make it known that you are peeking out at them. I think having a gun in your hand is a little excessive/paranoid, unless your area is known to have a high crime rate. Also, from knowing a lot of cops through my Aikido classes, the most frequent handgun deaths are children shooting themselves accidentally, or someone getting their own gun taken away and killed by it.

My general rule of thumb is that if I don't know you and it is late, we can talk through the door. If it sounds legit or there is just one person I will open the door but leave the screen door closed. We also have two very protective and very loud dogs, so that really cuts down on my fear factor (most people won't ask to come in with a 70 lb dog going crazy on the other side.

If it was weird or someone was belligerent/destructive, then I would toddle upstairs and get my 12-guage remington. As someone sagely said above, if a person hears that click-clack sound of a shotgun and doesn't take off fast, they must be crazy so you can just shoot them Posted Image Seriously, don't get a firearm, get a pump shotgun. Bullets go through walls, ricochet, etc, whereas shotguns are: harder to accidentally shoot yourself fatally, don't penetrate walls as easily, spread the shot to make it easier to hit something, and make that universal 'click-clack' noise that sends any sane criminal running in the opposite direction.

#17 of 80 OFFLINE   MickeS

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Posted September 09 2003 - 09:34 AM


Why? What good would that have done you in these situations? Nothing happened!

My God, you people are more scared than a bunch of old ladies. Posted Image
/Mike

#18 of 80 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted September 09 2003 - 09:47 AM

The Mossberg 500 pump 12 gauge is available in a kit with two barrels for about $225. One barrel is a 18.5 inch no-choke and the other is a 28 inch modified choke: this gives you both home protection and occasional skeet shooting to boot. (I would not recommend owning one if you aren't going to shoot it and familiarize yourself with the gun.) Fortunately I've shot many more skeets than prowlers thus far......and hope that continues.

Posted Image

By the way, did you ever consider calling the police?
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#19 of 80 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted September 09 2003 - 11:24 AM

[quote] Also, from knowing a lot of cops through my Aikido classes, the most frequent handgun deaths are children shooting themselves accidentally, or someone getting their own gun taken away and killed by it. [quote]

Actually, the most frequent handgun deaths are drug and gang related. Accidental shootings of children and getting your gun taken away are far down on the list.

My recommendation - For protection on the street, a handgun (if you live in a state that allows it).

For home protection - Nothing scares away the lowlifes like the sound of a 12 guage pump chambering a shell.

#20 of 80 OFFLINE   Steve_Tk

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Posted September 09 2003 - 12:59 PM

I don't know why you would answer the door. Even if you are armed it's still asking for trouble. You ready to kill someone, or have your gun taken from you and shot? (yeh I know everyone here is a bad ass and no one could ever take their gun from you!). But these things do happen. If it was a friend in an emergency, they would probably rap on the door and yell through it. If that didn't happen then you should be cautious.




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