BRADFORD COUNTY, Fla. – Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith on Wednesday warned of a residential burglary scheme that he sees happen every summer.
In a Facebook post, the Sheriff Smith explained how thieves are able to fool you, simply by knocking on your front door.
"One or more person(s) come to your front door and knock. If you answer, they ask for directions or someone who does not live at your home," the sheriff wrote. "If you do not answer, they go around to the back of your home and pry a rear door or break the glass to gain entry and burglarize your home."
Sheriff Smith said that scenario has been reported in Bradford and surrounding counties, and the incidents usually increase this time of year.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said crooks often strike between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. when people are at work, which is why he recommends putting a system in place to keep thieves at bay.
"What they're trying to do is commit a burglary, hoping that no one is home," Gil Smith said.
If you are home, Gil Smith said, it's best not to answer the door.
"You don't need to open it. Just say, 'No, I'm not interested. Thank you very much,'" he said. "You don't need to have a conversation back-and-forth.
If you're not home, Gil Smith offered this advice:
"It's best to have the back doors locked. Make sure all of your doors and windows are locked. Some people use this type of voice activated response or someone rings the doorbell and it says, 'No, I'm not interested. Please go away.' Whatever makes a person believe that you're not home," Gil Smith said.
According to Gil Smith, if the person at the door continues to talk with you or begins lurking around then home, don't try to handle it yourself, just call police.
"If you experience this type of situation, or observe suspicious vehicles in your neighborhood or parking behind residences, call 911 and provide as much information about the individuals and vehicles as you can," the sheriff said.