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Some bloke just scared my mum UPDATED p.2

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#1 Lickety Split

Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:12 PM

My mum is a widow in her 70s living on her own. Her street is mostly older people living alone. She just rang me a bit worried because a young bloke had just knocked on her door and asked her if she had half an hours work for him as he needed $7 for a bus and didn't like to beg. She told him no politely and he left but it made her feel really vulnerable. Her house is quite exposed but it does have an alarm. I tried to reassure her but I know she'll be extremely anxious, worried if he was checking out the place to see if she lived alone etc. Is there anything I can do to make her feel safer?

Edited by Lickety Split, 06 January 2013 - 05:16 PM.

#2 mitty82

Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:17 PM

ring the police, you just never know and make them aware and they might take a drive around and have a chat to the fella

#3 WhimsicalDragonfly

Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:18 PM

One tip I read somewhere once was to leave a pair of men's shoes at the entrance, like a pair of workboots or sturdy looking man shoes to give visitors the idea that there is someone else around the house.

If it happened again, your mum could along with her polite declining of the offer, add that her brother/nephew/son/cousin does odd jobs for her.

ETA - You could also get one of those wall buzzers/mobile buzzers that when pressed call emergency services straight away. There is a monthly fee.  Not sure if you're mum would like that at this stage, but something to think about for the future maybe.

Hope your mum is feeling okay now.

Edited by WhimsicalDragonfly, 06 January 2013 - 04:20 PM.

#4 ****lisa****

Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:21 PM

QUOTE (WhimsicalDragonfly @ 06/01/2013, 05:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One tip I read somewhere once was to leave a pair of men's shoes at the entrance, like a pair of workboots or sturdy looking man shoes to give visitors the idea that there is someone else around the house.

An oldie but a goodie!

#5 Lickety Split

Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:27 PM

QUOTE (WhimsicalDragonfly @ 06/01/2013, 05:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One tip I read somewhere once was to leave a pair of men's shoes at the entrance, like a pair of workboots or sturdy looking man shoes to give visitors the idea that there is someone else around the house.

I did tell her this and she put a pair a dad's old gumboots near the front door original.gif

#6 esme weatherwax

Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:28 PM

It doesn't do any harm to call the police if she feels the situation was suspicious. In our area people have been going to homes and asking about tree lopping work - they target elderly people, cut a few branches off a tree then demand thousands of dollars.  They've even driven people to ATM's to get money. I know because the police told me this when I called them after a dodgy looking guy knocked on my door looking for work.

#7 *purple*

Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:38 PM

I agree, call the police and report it...it may be nothing, but it may help them if there has been other reports made.

There has been a lot of break ins in our suburb that have occurred in broad daylight (commonly around lunchtime when everyone is at work). Someone knocks on the door and if there is an answer they just say they were looking for someone but had the wrong address...if no one answers they kick in the door and call their mate who is waiting around the corner with a ute.

I'm not saying this is the case in your mum's situation, but if it is, it may help the police to get a description of the man

#8 LambChop

Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:53 PM

Does she live near a bus stop at all ?

I'm just wondering what exactly she is going to say to the police in terms of what the issue was exactly other than unexpected ?

#9 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:00 PM

Maybe the guy was actually a good bloke and being honest?
I'm not suggesting she doesn't take precautions, or that she is silly for for feeling vulnerable. But it IS possible he was a hard at luck guy trying to do the right thing.

#10 *melrose*

Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:07 PM

Call the police!

#11 WhimsicalDragonfly

Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:09 PM

Oh, that's scary stuff.  I hate that older people are targeted like that.  Calling the police is a great idea, sometimes they do a patrol around the area and if these shonksters are around and see this, it may act as a deterrent.

#12 Lickety Split

Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:15 PM


She called the police (13 14 44 number) and reported it and gave them his description. She watched him leave and he didn't go to any of her neighbour's houses, just walked right down the street and into the next one. Seems odd that he would only have approached my mother's house. She also said he seemed quite persistent which unnerved her.

I made a mistake, he didn't say he needed the money for a bus, just said he needed $7.

#13 MammaBee81

Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:17 PM

I'm a crime scene examiner - see it all the time unfortunately for everyone.

When people knock on the door with strange requests, call the Police immediately. In NSW (sorry not sure where the OP is), and as it would not be an emergency, try to keep the 000 line free (or 112 from your mobile). Instead call the NSW Police Assistance Line on 131 444. Give them a description of the person, and they will send police out to try to find them in the neighbourhood and see what the deal is. This kind of "neighbourhood watch" has stopped quite a lot of break-ins.

You should never feel silly about reporting things like that. Police would rather respond to a million false alarms than miss the real alarm because you felt a bit silly since the person at the door didn't technically do anything wrong.

Another option to make your mum feel safer is to install a security door that she keeps locked (I'd recommend this anyway to everyone). Get one with a tough mesh screen, not the fabric flyscreen stuff because that can be easily ripped and they can reach a finger in and unlock the little latch. She can open the timber door then and easily talk to anyone on the other side, but keep the security door locked so nobody can get in.

For night time, installing a simple sensor light out the front can deter people from approaching the house. They start up the driveway and a light comes on, attention is drawn to them so they are likely to just turn around and leave.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, I'll come back to you if I think of more!

#14 Miss Cinders

Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:33 PM

Good on your mum for calling the police.

Everything MammaBee81 said is what my local policeman said to me when we had a man in our backyard a few months ago.

These people watch you - as is what our policeman thought about the man in our yard - The elderly and young single mothers are 'easy' prey to them.

Could you have a sleepover with your Mum for a couple of nights to set her mind at ease?

#15 Lolpigs

Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:48 PM

I would also be reminding her not to answer the door to strangers. No reason too at all nowadays. I am at home with small children and heavily pregnant and I don't either.

Too easy to become a target. Good for her calling the police.

#16 JaneDoe2010

Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:18 PM

After what happened to Melbourne woman Jill Meagher (if you don't know the story Google will tell you), and the reports that came out afterwards of strange happenings that hadn't been reported but were the same guy, it is absolutely vital that all strange things like that be reported to the police. Ok, sometimes it may be totally innocent. But other times it may be a piece in the puzzle that helps solve or even prevent a tragic crime.

#17 mitty82

Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:28 PM

glad she called the police. anyone coming to any door asking for money of any kind for nothing or odd jobs is exactly that ....odd. Especially with an elderly person.

Id call the police if someone did that to me.

Never underestimate and weird happening.s

#18 solongsuckers

Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:03 PM

QUOTE (WhimsicalDragonfly @ 06/01/2013, 05:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One tip I read somewhere once was to leave a pair of men's shoes at the entrance, like a pair of workboots or sturdy looking man shoes to give visitors the idea that there is someone else around the house..

I'd be right then. Anyone that came to my place would think I have ten men living with me the way DH organises his shoes!

#19 asdf89

Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:17 PM

A similar thing happened to my grandmother-in-law.

A young woman knocked on her door at 6pm. GMIL is a bit eccentric and keeps a strict schedule and is in bed by that time and the woman kept knocking for 5 min until GMIL got out of bed and came to the door. The woman asked to use her phone and GMIL said no, she didn't have one (she does but she has a strange thing about not wanting people to know she's got the phone connected) but also said she didn't want the woman to come in and suss the house out. The next day GMIL talked with her neighbours (all other elderly people) who were visited by that woman also.

Some people see the elderly as an easy target. I think the idea of your mother getting a crimsafe (or similar) door is a good one.

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