When I lived in Chicago, I lived in a coach house...the house behind the big house, which was essentially a converted garage. It was a nicer area around Lincoln Park, and about 100 ft. off a major intersection where there were stores and lots of people. However, in order to get in to my place, I had to walk down an alley, and go through a gate with a motion detector. I was always nervous going in and out of the alley at night, and when I had to do this I would often run from my place, through the alley to the busy street as FAST as possible. As busy as the intersection was the alley was usually empty-scary.
I am tall and thin, and at that time attracted a fair amount of unwanted attention. I'm guessing I was being watched, and my comings and goings were noticed.
One night at around 10pm or so, I heard the gate open and the light detector went on. I assumed this was the owner on his way to the big house through the back entrance, but I'm super cautious and looked out the window to the alley. As I was doing this I heard a loud knock on my door. I could see a car waiting in
the alley...a low 70's Nova type, and this was the later nineties....a very old, beat up car.
I went to the door, and of course didn't open it. I asked..."Yes, can I help you?" A man answered: "I got lost...could you help me with directions? I told him I didn't drive and was terrible at directions. At this point I was so afraid my head was swimming, and I can't remember exactly what he said next, but it was something like "could I come in for a minute and have you show me where we are on my map."
I asked him why he had come into an alley, opened a gate, climbed up my coach house stairs and knocked on a strangers door, when just outside the alley there were tons of open businesses. He ignored this, and asked to come in again. I said that I was calling the police, and did so....I called 911.
He runs down the stairs and gets out of there in his Nova, where his male friend was waiting, as fast as possible....screeching tires and all.
The police @ 911 told me that I did the right thing, but if he came back, I should mention that I have gun(I don't really have one). A really cute officer was on the scene very quickly and calmed my nerves.
NEVER open the door! Ask what they want through a locked door, and even if you feel it's legit, offer to call assistance for the person, or direct them to a gas station...etc.