Alternate Take on A Bump in the Night Scenario

Been away for awhile as I’ve been a bit busy at work. Anyways, a couple weeks back, I was woken up at midnight by an alert on my phone that the front door at my parents place had been opened.

I moved my parents there so they’d be closer to me as they’re getting on in the years so I didn’t think they’d be up and opening the door at that time. The Ring doorbell camera at their place shows an unknown car in parked at the curb. They aren’t in a bad neighborhood, but there have recently been a string of car break-ins at night by people from outside the area and a few isolated cases where these escalated into home break-ins. I immediately gave my parents a call and there’s no answer so I get dressed, told my wife what happened and drove over by myself to check things out. I’ve got a kid so I’m not going to drag the wife off and leave the kid home alone at night.

There’s no additional proof that someone has broken in so I felt that calling 911 at this point was premature.

Once I got there, I pulled into the driveway and did a quick assessment. Lights were off, front door was closed. Noone seemed to be in the car at the curb. I did a quick walk-around the perimeter and didn’t see anyone or anything out the ordinary. I then went back to the front door and found that it was locked. I had a key, so I unlocked the door and found everyone sleeping inside. Satisfied that everything was ok, I locked the door and went back home. I found out the next day that they had just stayed up late that night and decided to check outside before locking up.

When I saw that the lights were off and the front door closed, I was reasonably sure that things were ok. Anyone breaking in would have turned on the lights or used flashlights to get around in the dark. The front door being locked was another good sign as even if someone had broken in, I don’t think they would have taken time to lock the door as they would want to be in and out as quickly as possible.

That said, if there were signs of forced entry, what would have I done? I would have called 911 and then hit the horn to get the attention of those inside. I had pepper spray and my EDC on me, but I did not want to be clearing a house by myself at midnight with potentially 2 or 3 presumably armed hostiles. Why are they armed? Well, if someone is breaking into a home in the middle of the night, it’s probably likely that the homeowner is home and the person or persons doing the breaking in are aware of this and are probably equipped in case they do encounter someone.

In retrospect, I should not have driven onto the driveway. The MO used by the groups that have been targeting cars at night is to have 2 or 3 people going down a street and checking cars in everyone’s driveway. There is also a designated driver following the group in a car or parked nearby for a quick getaway. If it had been an actual break-in, the car at the curb could have backed up and blocked the driveway. I didn’t think they’d do something like that at the time as that would risk their getaway car, but not all bad guys are rational. If I had parked on the curb, this wouldn’t have been an issue.

I’m not sure there’s anything else I would have done differently and I’m very glad it turned out to be nothing.


Your a great son👍


That’s a tricky situation. I understand the not wanting to call the police if you really aren’t sure there is a problem. But since there had been several break ins in the area and you pulled up late at night and checked the perimeter there is a chance a neighbor or even your parents could have called 911 on you thinking you were the criminal. Also are your parents armed? They could have thought your quiet entry in the middle of the night was a home invasion if they heard the door open or the door camera alerted them.

Think the one thing I would have done differently whether or not I decided to call the police is to keep calling the parents over and over as I was driving there to try and get them to pick up the phone.

Glad it turned out to be a none event. Your parents are lucky to have a good son looking after them!


Indeed a good son!
There is a dilemma here. You go in, your parents mistake you for a home invader (it happened), or you come face to face with invaders who outgun you. You dont go in, who knows whats happening to your parents. You did the right thing by watching and deciding invaders wont go through the house in complete darkness.


I had similar thoughts as shamrock. If your parents are armed you could have scared them enough that you could have been shot. I think once I saw the door was locked and there was no visible signs of forced entry, I’ll check the perimeter thoroughly and start ringing my parents phone off the hook. Since the area had already had some problems I think the police would have understood if you ask them to check on your parents explaining to them why you were concerned. Not trying to be too critical at all and your parents are lucky to have you as a son!


I am with Shamrock :shamrock: on this one. To easy for a misunderstanding.

I am an incredibly light sleeper, and my neighbors are an older couple. I watch out for them. If I saw someone walking about in the yard, I would have 911 rolling and me going to check on them.