Last Wednesday afternoon a young woman, living near DePaul University, heard a knock at the door to her apartment. When she went to answer it she found herself staring at a man wearing a ski mask and displaying a handgun.
She told officers she was then sexually assaulted at gunpoint inside her apartment. The attacker was wearing a ski mask, as well as a dark shirt, jeans, black gym shoes and gloves, police said Thursday.
What did the man say to get her to open the door?
Why would you open the door to a stranger?
1. Bad timing. You were expecting a delivery and the assailant just happened to pick that time to knock on your door.
2. You let your guard down because it was either late morning, or the middle of the afternoon and you assumed you were safe at those times of the day.
3. The person at the door said they were from one of the following: the electric company, the gas company, or the heating and or air-conditioning repair firm sent by the buildings owner. If the owner didn’t arrange with you to have anything repaired, don’t let them in.
4. The person claims to be a neighbor or a friend of another tenant asking if they can leave something with you for their friend.
5. This one is the scariest. They claim that someone is attacking them and want you to save them by opening your door to let them in. We all want to help someone in need, especially someone whose life may be in danger.
What precautions can you take to avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime?
1. Don’t open your door to strangers! Even if it is a woman claiming that her life is in danger. How do you know they don’t have an accomplice waiting out of view ready to rush in? Tell the person to stay by the door and call 911 immediately.
2. If you live in an apartment building make sure the outside door locks behind you after you enter the building. All apartment buildings should have a working lock on the door to the building.
3. If the door to the building is unlocked it could mean that someone other than a tenant could have gained access. Don’t go in alone. If you must enter the building then proceed with extreme caution. If you carry mace/pepper spray have it in your hand and be prepared to use it.
4. Don’t depend on a door chain to keep an assailant out. People use door chains to open the door slightly to see who is outside. Don’t do it! Most chains are held in place by a few small screws, which can be ripped out if the assailant throws his body against the door. A door bar is better for this purpose, if installed properly.
5. Just because someone says they are with the police department, or utility company, doesn’t mean they are. Ask for identification. If they refuse to show it to you call the police. If you don’t like the look of the I.D. call the police or the company they claim to be with and ask for confirmation.
6. If you have a peephole in the door use it. If at home, look out the window or the mail slot. If you don’t like what you see or feel uncertain about who they say they are, don’t open the door!
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