This is just a quick thought about the often stated ‘fact’ that if there is no forced entry to a murder scene the victim probably knew the killer. This normally happens when there is no kicked in door or climb scraped drain pipe. Time and time again it seems to many in the press that a lack of damage to a home means it is likely the killer was acquainted with the victim.
Sometimes the victim will be found surrounded by real signs they knew their killer. In the case of Doctor Danuta there was evidence she had been drinking with someone in her kitchen for example. There can be a couple of coffee cups half drunk or a meal recently finished. Other cases document how a victim said they were expecting a caller, but they did not specify who. Later they are found murdered so unless there is forced entry it makes sense they likely knew the offender.
I sit here with two unlocked doors. Someone could be in the house and I would not know it other than I have a couple of dogs that would warn me. Before I had the dogs I would have had the doors open. I have on at least a dozen occasions in my life got up in the morning and realised I had not locked the front door at all. It happens.
In addition, we can answer the door to someone, even a stranger, who sounds plausible. Once the door is open they could threaten their way in or, in the case of vulnerable people, force their way in. How easy that would be depends on the level of violence used. In the USA it is more likely that a gun will be used than it is here. So as a result more people can be controlled quickly. The UK has its own problems of course, but it is harder to control more than one person with a knife. That said unless you are ready to fight well a blade could be all that is needed to get you backing into your house as a stranger steps in.
There is the level of ‘knowing’ a killer. We normally know the post man/woman so we would be relaxed, but we wouldn’t invite them in? That is just an example of a wide range of people. You have other delivery people, gardeners, power company workers and police officers. There is quite a list of those we may feel comfortable around and who could come into the home without us ‘knowing them.’
Then there are close contacts, neighbours and friends, but each have their own level of trust bestowed on them. Some we would happily leave in our house alone, while others we would not let past the front door. Just because forced entry is not apparent in a crime it doesn’t mean the victim knew the killer to any extent.
I have watched criminals walk up to a house and knock on the door. When they don’t get a reply they try the door. Why not? They want to rob the place and it is possible the door has been forgotten. Equally, I have been to the scene of many burglaries where entry to a place was gained through fire doors in commercial buildings. Then there are kitchen windows in houses on a hot and sunny day. Until you see how fast some burglars can get through an open window it is hard to believe. An old adage is if you can get your head through a gap you can get the rest of you through. I have seen that go wrong too, but overall the principle is a good one.
The way I look at predators is they think about how to get to their aim all the time. Meanwhile you and I are thinking about a bit of fresh air and a quick trip outside to drop garbage in the can.
Just opening your door as you come home means you are doing the work for a criminal. In that instant your attention is diverted from safety to simply getting inside your house. That is an easy time for someone ‘unknown’ to access a home without leaving a mark.
There are many thoughts there, but they are based on my personal experience. Should we be scared? Yes, I think we should. We should lock up as a matter of priority and the more vulnerable we are the more care we should take. Will I now go and lock mine? Probably not. There is always a balance between freedom and security. It is a personal risk assessment that balances your ability, your environment and your security arrangements.
If you have concerns about the security in your home approach your local police department for advice. If you cannot get any there then a reputable alarm company should be able to help. As a last resort I can give good qualified advice and I am happy to help.
Being prepared and protected should make you feel better and after all that is what life is about, feeling good. As for the main purpose of this article it is just to help when you are looking at motive and opportunity and see this statement about the victim knowing the killer. In my book if there are no obvious signs of forced entry they may have known them and then again maybe not.