Be Wary of Things Happening With No Reason

I was leaving the house to go to a meeting this morning, and my “Spidey sense” started tingling the moment I walked out the door. I dropped my keys back into my purse – when I get that prickle of unease, one of the first things I like to do is empty my hands – and scanned the neighborhood. At first, the young woman across the street didn’t look too out of place – she was youthful, attractively dressed, but she was looking at my neighbors house with an intensity that belied the innocent exterior.

Then I caught sight of the rest of them. Four more women, equally young and attractive, all trying (or so it seemed to me) to exude “innocuous”. And one very large, very tough-looking guy. The kind that has the “used to be in prison” vibe going. They weren’t particularly doing anything suspicious, any of them, but they didn’t look like they were doing anything specific, either.

And that made me suspicious.

We’ve had problems in this neighborhood with door-to-door magazine salespeople scammers lately. So far the scammers in our area have just been targeting folks for money, but I know in some areas these magazine scams have been associated with property crimes and even violence. I was therefore immediately on the alert.

I called my spouse (who was back in the house) to raise the alarm. Alex came outside and, under the pretense of picking up the newspaper, eyeballed the assembled group. I headed out to my meeting, noticing the group (who’d probably seen us watching them) disperse as I left. Alex went back inside and locked the door.

When we practice situational awareness, it’s easy to look for the things people are doing that are out of place: Looking in windows, trying car door handles, following us when we walk. But it’s just as important to be vigilant for the people who are doing nothing. They’re just as out-of-place, and deserve just as much scrutiny. Sometimes people are genuinely just hanging out with nothing to do. But sometimes being too casual is a cover for doing something nefarious.

Stay vigilant, and stay safe.


  1. Excellent! Just knowing you and your husband were aware of them probably saved your neighborhood some grief.

    • Yes, I think that’s very likely true. And considering we’ve had issues with these folks before – including a pair of them that tried to push their way into the house, I was glad that awareness saved US some grief. Avoiding trouble is always easier than getting out of it once it happens.

  2. Carole M says:

    I totally agree! I don’t even answer the door if I don’t know who it is. I stand at the door and watch them thru the peephole. I’ve taught my kids to be quiet when the doorbell rings and to stay away from the door. My husband thinks I’m being silly, but I disagree. I’m home alone during the day with my kids…and I’m not taking any chances.

    • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Carole – it may feel silly to be careful, but feeling silly is a whole lot better than the outcomes that happen when we aren’t careful? Given a choice, I’d much rather feel silly and have nothing happen than risk seeing myself or my daughter be victimized.

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