Friday, December 6 2013 8:25 PM EST2013-12-07 01:25:23 GMT
Shawn McClure was arrested Friday evening after it was revealed at a press conference that he is indicted on charges of theft and receiving stolen property. More >>
Shawn McClure was arrested Friday evening after it was revealed at a press conference that he is indicted on charges of theft and receiving stolen property.More >>
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
Many Huntsville homeowners are getting an unwanted knock at their door, the knock of a criminal hoping you'll open up and let them in.
Since there has been a recent increase in home invasions in Huntsville and since October is Crime Prevention Month, we found out how to tell who is who, and when you should never answer the door.
Some are posing as maintenance workers, others as salesmen, and some are just trying to see if anyone's home before they come busting in.
That's what happened to Dominick Everson late one night last month.
"They just kept ringing the doorbell and knocking at the door, and ringing the doorbell and knocking at the door. You can even see the footprint of where they kicked the door. They knocked it clean off the hinges," said Everson.
Fortunately for him, things didn't get any worse.
"They were trying to see what was inside the house. I don't know if they got a good look or not, but when I called the police no one was inside the house. I locked myself inside my room," explained Everson.
Since then, it has happened again, this time with a broken window.
Many of his neighbors are reporting the same problem, so are several others around town.
"We do have some cases out there where folks are knocking at the door. When you answer the door, they may be there to rob you," added Dr. Harry Hobbs with the Huntsville Police Department.
So how do you tell who's harmful and who's not?
Police said if you don't know who's there, then just don't answer.
"I would be very leery of opening the door at night, and at times during the day that seem very irregular for you to have company," said Hobbs.
What about those so-called salesmen and maintenance workers?
You can make it illegal for them to even come knocking.
"If you have a no solicitation sign in your yard clearly marked, then it's against our ordinance for them to even come up and offer some product or service," explained Hobbs.
But sometimes there is no stopping these thieves.
We went to a local spy shop where they carry inexpensive several security devices you can arm your home with. That way you'll know someone's there, before they even knock.
"The Driveway Patrol is one of the best ones," said Tim Lewis with the Alabama Spy Shop. "It's our hottest seller in the store. We have a motion detector that you put a 9-volt battery in. You don't need a reflector or anything like that. You just set this outside and it shoots a straight beam. The other piece will be sitting in the house. It will set off a tone. You put this beside your bed. It is also portable and you can take it with you anywhere in the house."
It will let you know someone is on your property, without letting them know.
As for Everson, he's now more cautious about opening his door.
"Whoever is going to be coming to my house, they need to call before they come," added Everson.
Police said if you leave a child home alone, they should never answer the door for anyone. Also, they said to keep your home well-lit at night and make it clear you are home. That will often deter an intruder.