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Old 01-12-2012, 05:43 AM   #1
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Scenario: knock on door in middle of night while boondocking-what to do?

When overnighting while traveling between the relative safety of campgrounds i.e. Walmarts, truck stops and you get a knock on the door in the middle of the night - how do you handle that? It could be a good semaritan telling you of something, a cop or a criminal. We are new to this and wondering what most do!

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Old 01-12-2012, 05:58 AM   #2
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:08 AM   #3
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I have a tinted glass window in my door (changed from the opaque window that was there), but I would turn on the scare lights on that side of the trailer, raise the blind and see who is there while holding my loaded .45 behind my back. Remember the cops are only minutes away when seconds count.

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Old 01-12-2012, 06:48 AM   #4
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I with Happy Prospector..except I have Mr&Mrs Smith-Wesson and their 15 children peeking out a window. What U don't want to do is just open the door to see what or who is standing there. You would do what you would do at home, "WHO, WHAT AND WHY" are they knocking on your door. Better to be safe first and ask questions later. IMHO...
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:58 AM   #5
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As said before, I would never open the door. I would also never would show my gun. I would hold it below window level in unseen position. It could be the police and brandishing a gun in front of a policeman could turn out bad.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:16 AM   #6
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Do We Have LEOs Amongst Us?

Originally Posted by win35p View Post
When overnighting while traveling between the relative safety of campgrounds i.e. Walmarts, truck stops and you get a knock on the door in the middle of the night...
Our law enforcement types are best equipped to answer this, 'hope they weigh in.

My guess:
  • Refrain from illuminating the interior
  • Turn on porch light or exterior spotlight
  • Create voice contact either by passenger vent window or passenger side sliding window
  • Query
  • Offer to call 911
  • Call 911
  • Sit on air horn while waiting for police to arrive

    I'd wager our police friends will tell us that personal protection devices are strictly reserved for use after the door is pryed open.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:51 AM   #7
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How many times have you had it happen? It MIGHT occur but the fear is worse.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:51 AM   #8
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We don't stay at Wal Marts or truck stops, but I would not open the door for someone who was knocking on my door in the middle of the night! We have a window in the hall up to the bedroom that I would open and find out who it is and what they wanted. The window sits high off the ground, so they wouldn't be able to shove their way in once it was opened.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:52 AM   #9
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Not much I can add to the responses so far. Don't just open the door, have phone in one hand ready for 911 call, and in the other, a banned, "not OK to discuss here" item ready to respond to any serious threat.

I have wondered, for those with side-looking cameras in their rigs, can you use them as surveillance when not moving? If so, you could discreetly turn on the right side camera to have a look before doing anything.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by win35p View Post
When overnighting while traveling between the relative safety of campgrounds i.e. Walmarts, truck stops and you get a knock on the door in the middle of the night - how do you handle that? It could be a good semaritan telling you of something, a cop or a criminal. We are new to this and wondering what most do!
This is exactly why we dont boondock or stay in Wal Mart parking lots. You never know whos on the other side of that door. If its not a cop knocking you could be in trouble in todays economy. Crime is rising If its cop he might shoot you if he sees a gun. If its a crook he might shoot you anyway even if he doesnt see anything. And remember He could shout out "police open up" Now is it a cop or someone up to no good. I admit its not very probable any of this would happen. But it does give a reason for caution. Im sure somewhere along the line these circumstances have happened
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:03 AM   #11
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As you can see, you are going to get almost as many varied response as there are members on this forum. Some are going to advocate a weapon of some sort, others will state different approaches. Personally, it all depends on the situation and if at all possible do not open the door during hours you would never expect a visitor. As stated there are other methods of communicating and responding. It will all come down to a personal choice.

On the other hand, have you ever heard a 70 pound Husky bark when suddenly a door knocker comes? It is quite a deterrent.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:22 AM   #12
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I had it happen only once. A game warden and he was a friend of mine. Was checking elk hunters. He came up to my fifth wheel with lights off about 9:00at night. I had just bought the fifth wheel and he didn't recongnize it. When he knocked I told him to stand under the pourch light and I was able to see him from the bedroom window. I already had my 9mm behind me. I let him in, had coffee and shot the bull for a while. Showed him the nine laying on the table and let him know how dangerous it was to be checking at night. They were under orders to check at night to catch more hunters in camp.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:47 AM   #13
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OK as a 35 year veteran and current big city police officer I will weigh in.
Here are a few things that we should all keep in mind about personal safety and the use of deadly force.

1. Being aware of your surroundings, risks, etc will help you to make better decissions to begin with. Prevention is always better than responding. Who would park their coach in the middle of a gang fight and get out of it? Pay attention to where you are. I bought a coach so I could have options when traveling.

2. Use of deadly force laws vary from state to state. Before any of us (cops included) decide to start using guns, we must first carefully reflect on what that might end up meaning. I know their are folks who will say and believe that they would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6, but there is a whole lot more that needs to be said. You or I might be darn justified to shoot at a person threatning us, but it is darn easy to miss and hit an inocent person. We will be held responsible!

3. It is not easy to kill a man. Taking human life, even in self defense is going to seriously complicate your life and that of your families. Right or wrong you will be scrutinized by local law enforcement and the courts for any use of deadly force (some areas that we like to camp have far less contemporary law enforcement and judicial systems then where we live and work). Yes you have the right to use deadly force in most states (better check the laws when you travel) but you will most likely end of defending your actions in court and you will most likely be spending some money!

4. If you are going to rely on a weapon (especially a gun and most especially a semi-auto pistol) you had best know how to use it well. You should practice regularly in realistic scenarios, you should understand what it will do and not do, you should care for it and keep fresh amo in it. Most importantly, have a gun you can shoot accurately in the scenario you expect to encounter, have a gun that you have when you need it, and the correct amo in it! Not every gun works well in every combat scenario!

5. Practice, practice, practice! In self defense you will not be shooting at stationary paper or cans. You will probably have an adrenalin dump, a heart rate of about 190 and you will probably have old information in other words you will be in reactive mode not proactive mode. If you examine the statistics, cops don't do a great job of hitting their targets under stress and most of us practice a lot! A good way to test this, is to exercise at a rate that you would call extreme for about 15 minutes and then shoot your gun with your off hand. That will aproximate how well you will do in a real gun battle!

If you consider all that I just said, and there is a lot I have not said, you might see that having a good awareness of where you are camping is a smart move.

If you are not willing to do the work in order to have confidence that a gun will save you, I suggest changing your plans and being very proactive about where you stay. Or chosing a different self defense system: Base ball bat, pepper spray, making sure that where you camp has a cell phone signal.

If however, you are scared day or night, a motorhome is a pretty strong and secure place to be. You are up high, and if you stay low and in the middle of the coach it would be darn hard to hit you! Making noise, turning on lights, calling 911, and if possible driving away would be my first choices.

Never open the door. I am a cop not a doctor, I am not opening my door for anyone if I have any suspision or concern. I am not talking about some small child in freezing weather, I am talking about walk ups in the dark. If they are not in the coach with you, it will take them a long time to get in.

At the end of the day, this is a worthy topic for travelers to discuss. Like with fire safety, we should have a plan, practice the plan, and then try to use the plan should an emergency occur.

Best Regards,

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Old 01-12-2012, 09:09 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ramblin View Post

I have wondered, for those with side-looking cameras in their rigs, can you use them as surveillance when not moving? If so, you could discreetly turn on the right side camera to have a look before doing anything.
Excellent point and it's been a pet peeve of mine for a while now that mid range coach manufacturers don't take advantage of them more for security. But, yes, turning on the key will display the three cameras on my coach allowing me to see what's just outside each of my front side windows/entry door and to the rear of the rig.

It seems to me that for just a few dollars more coaches could be designed with perhaps a couple more cameras strategically located so one could always easily get a quick view of what was going on outside their coaches at night.


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