We've been taught to treat others with kindness, which is why many of us are quick to lend a helping hand to a stranger in need. It's always nice to give directions, donate some spare change, or provide other assistance when asked—but some inquiries should ring alarm bells. Police are now warning about one thing a stranger could inquire about that may be tied to a burglary scheme. If you hear this question, you'll want to make sure the doors to your home are locked tight. Read on to find out what could indicate you're the target of a crime, and how you can best protect yourself.
Police warned about "stranger danger" just last week.
It seems like every day there's another warning about a new scam—and while we try to keep ourselves safe, crooks just keep getting craftier. Criminals we don't know have to be that much more cunning to gain our trust, but that hasn't stopped them from finding new targets.
Just last week, police in Barnstable, Massachusetts issued a warning about sharing e-cigarettes and vapes with strangers. Per a Facebook post from the police department, vape cartridges can be altered and used to deliver date-rape drugs. Citizens were warned never to share vape cartridges with strangers and to also keep an eye on their drinks—which are the common target for drugs like Rohypnol (or "roofies").
Now, strangers are posing a new threat, and you don't have to leave home to be targeted.
Be wary when answering the door.
The Chicago Police Department (CPD) issued a new warning that will make you pause before answering a knock at the door. As reported by CBS Chicago, police are cautioning citizens, particularly the elderly, who are being targeted in a new burglary scheme.
As part of the con, a suspect will engage with an older victim and ask specifically about home repairs or water problems in the home. At this point, while the victim is distracted, a second suspect enters the home, taking valuables, jewelry, and money, the police warned.
Two suspects have been linked to eight burglaries.
The recent string of crimes occurred primarily on the Northwest Side of Chicago, police said, per CBS Chicago. A total of eight burglaries were reported between May 28, 2022, and June 18, 2022. And unlike what we may think of when it comes to burglaries—black masks and intruders in the dead of night—these crimes are occurring during daylight hours, logged anywhere between 12 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Police have identified two suspects thus far, including a Hispanic man, who is between 150 and 160 pounds, between 30 and 40 years old, and roughly 5 feet 4 inches tall, CBS Chicago reported. A second suspect is a white man who is roughly 200 pounds, between 48 and 55 years old, and 5 feet 8 inches tall. According to Chicago Police, the pair traveled in a gray SUV.
Police asked citizens to stay on high alert.
To keep yourself protected, police ask that you take certain preventative measures. And while they may seem like common sense, these precautions could keep you safe in the event you are a target of this ruse.
While it may be tempting to keep doors unlocked when you're at home, police warn against this and ask that you keep both front and back doors securely locked at all times. In addition, refrain from allowing strangers to enter your home, and if you have security cameras or a Ring doorbell, ensure that they are both working and recording. If you are a victim of a crime, this footage can be invaluable in identifying perpetrators.
Keep your guard up and take note of any suspicious people that may be "loitering" in your neighborhood or local area. Also, make sure your neighbors are aware of these crimes, so they can keep themselves safe as well.
If your home is robbed, the CPD asks that you call 911 immediately, provide a detailed description of the suspects, and try to collect any vehicle or license plate information.