Criminals Lie

A popular concept that seems to be completely ignored most of the time is the fact that criminals are dishonest and may in fact lie to you. What am I getting at here? Well a post over at Walls of the City brought up a case of a couple who was robbed by two thugs posing as police officers:

But Monday night, police cars surrounded a Woodycrest Avenue home. Earlier, at about midnight, two men yelling “police” pounded on the door, the family said. They were let inside.

The family said the two men wanted two things: drugs and guns.

The family said the whole thing lasted 10 or 15 minutes. They said they have every reason to believe the two crooks were, in fact, police.

OK we’re going to start today’s lesson in Gulliblity 101. Just because somebody says they are something doesn’t mean they actually are that thing. For instance when I was in college and attending college parties I would make up all sorts of stories about who I was and what I did to people I didn’t know. I wasn’t trying to impress them, instead I liked to amuse myself by seeing how outrageous of a story I had to make before the person I was conversing with finally caught on I was bullshitting them. Believe me I could get pretty far with some people. Did you know I’m actually a gun runner who is an exile from the former Soviet Union? Well I had two people believing that one night.

The point is people lie and we’re pre-programmer to assume that’s not the case. This of course presents a predicament. Let’s say somebody is pounding on your door yelling “police” what should you do? After all if you don’t answer the door and they are actually police officers you’re in for a world of hurt when they decide to bust in the door. On the other hand if they aren’t police you’re letting criminals into your home which is one layer of your defense strategy down the tubes already.

And the answer is… dial 911. This is advice usually given in driver’s ed to women who see a police car with lights on behind them while they’re cruising down a deserted road in the country at 0300. Real police call in any actions they’re taking which means if they are going to investigate your home somebody at the station knows about it. If people are at your door claiming to be police you should dial 911 and ask if the people at your door are actually police. If they’re not real police officers will be dispatched to come to your door.

If the people at the door actually are police then you can open the door and kindly inform them that they may no enter unless they have a warrant.

One thought on “Criminals Lie”

  1. Coincidentally, I covered this a few weeks back, before WizardPC wrote his post, concerning news reports that census workers were breaking into peoples’ homes, before and after doing their official business, thanks to their credentials and knowledge of the people there.

    In any case, you are absolutely right. The default answer to someone trying to get into your house – anyone – is to call 911. If they are there on “official business”, you will find out in short order, and if they are not, you are going to need some backup in very short order.

    It would be an interesting question if humans are predisposed to automatically trust from birth, though… Seems like a survival trait, but I dunno.

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