We’ve all been home alone before when a knock at the door sends us into a sudden panic. An unexpected visitor can be strange and unsettling, which is why many of us tend to react the same way when it happens: by staying quiet and pretending we’re not home until they go away.
But a seasoned crime reporter has issued a warning on TikTok about why that’s actually the last thing you should do in that scenario.
Lori Fullbright (@lorifullbright) has been covering crime in Tulsa, Okla., for 31 years now and currently anchors the nightly news for News on 6. In that time, she’s interviewed hundreds of criminals — in particular, burglars — and has gleaned some powerful information from them that she wishes more people knew.
“You should not get quiet and pretend you’re not home whenever someone knocks on your door,” Fullbright advises, before sharing that the vast majority of criminals she’s spoken with have said that they want to hit a house that’s empty.
“They want to kick in your door when you’re gone, take all your stuff and leave,” she explains. “And it’s terrible — if you come home and all your stuff is gone, people go, ‘Oh, it’s a property crime.’ It’s not; it’s very personal.”
That said, Fullbright says it’s way worse if the criminal kicks in the door and discovers you hiding inside, because now you’ve come face-to-face. This is why burglars have told her that they mostly like to hit homes Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. — when most people are at work.
“They want an empty house,” Fullbright insists. “But they’re not sure you’re gone, so what do they do? They knock. They listen. No footsteps, no voices, no TV, no radio.”
This typically leaves them with the impression that nobody’s home, giving them the go-ahead to break in and enter. According to Fullbright, this practice is so common that it even has a name: the “knock and kick.”
To prevent it from happening to you, the reporter suggests doing the opposite of staying quiet. Instead, she wants you to create lots of noise and make your presence known.
“Blast the TV, stomp around, bang your pots and pans together,” Fullbright advises. Whatever you do, let them know that someone is in the house.
If the person at the door continues knocking, stay on the other side and say things like “Can I help you?” “I’m not interested” and “Move along.” She even suggests pretending that someone else is home with you too, by loudly saying things like “Honey, get out of the shower, someone’s at the door.”
According to Fullbright, most of the burglars she’s spoken with say that as soon as they sense someone’s inside the home, they typically move on and try to find a residence that’s empty instead. At the same time, she’s seen many cases that have gone wrong simply because people have pretended not to be there — especially kids who were unsure of what to do.
“Make a ruckus!” she urges, before the end of the clip.
Fullbright’s PSA has since gone viral, gaining more than 1.6 million views. In response, many people thanked the reporter for sharing such valuable safety advice.
“My first instinct is to hide but you make a good point,” one person wrote.
“Thanks for sharing this,” added someone else. “SAHM and we always hide/ignore. Good advice and makes sense.”
At the same time, many others seemed hesitant to change their ways.
“I lay on the floor and stay quiet because I have social anxiety,” one person explained.
“i get so scared when people knock,” added another.
Many other commenters tried sharing other helpful ways to outsmart burglars — whether you’re home or not. One person said their parent put some lights on a timer so that there always appeared to be someone home at night. Another said her mom would leave the radio on whenever they’d leave the house, just to create the illusion of people inside.
But many others had an even simpler solution to deter burglars: Set up a security camera.
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