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Woman discovers mysterious rubber band wrapped around her front door handle
March 2, 2017
A Facebook post from a woman worried that she had just narrowly escaped a home invasion attracted a lot of attention in April 2016. The post, from Kim Fleming Cernigliaro in Tatum, Texas, describes an attempt to disable the latching mechanism of her front door by wrapping a rubber band around it. Although the post has been shared more than 180,000 times and has spawned several articles warning of the danger of this technique, the information is unconfirmed.
It is unlikely that a rubber band positioned like this would actually be of any use to a would-be criminal, because holding the latch down is only effective if the locking mechanism is disengaged. A criminal would still have to hang around the front door waiting for someone inside to unlock it before forcing his way inside, so the rubber band provides no real advantage.
Snopes.com suggests the possibility that the rubber bands were used to "hold a brochure or newspaper that blew away or was removed by someone else," a scenario substantiated by Cernigliaro's comments that she was not the only resident of her neighborhood to discover a rubber band on the door handle.
It is important to note that Cernigliaro's post emphasizes the need to exercise caution when opening a door to strangers. "Do NOT ANSWER DOORS without knowing for sure you know who is on the other side!" she advises. The Hoover Police Department of Hoover, Ala. provides tips for preventing crime perpetrated by a stranger at the door, and recommends looking through a peephole or window while talking to the person through the closed door. The police agree with Cernigliaro that not opening the door at all is the most effective way to prevent a crime from taking place.