Ding-dong ditch can seemingly be a fun prank that kids might play. The idea is simple: ring somebody’s doorbell, run away, and hide before they open the door. When the person opens the door expecting to see a visitor, they will be puzzled to find the porch empty. But sometimes the person’s response may not be so benign.
Recently, there have been a rash of ding-dong ditch incidents in Kensington Grove. However, the kids are not just ringing a doorbell and running away. They are pounding their fist on the door heavily; or in one case, they used the bottom of their shoe to pound a door, leaving behind shoe marks. The sudden loud noise can be both frightening and dangerous.
To kids, it seems like a fun prank. But if their victim happens to be near the door when the kids strike with a very loud pounding, they could frighten the person and cause irreparable harm if the resident happens to be elderly with a heart condition and alone at the time.
One targeted resident happened to be an ex-policeman and he pointed out that a homeowner is entitled to defend their home against what could be perceived as someone trying to break down their door. That can create a dangerous situation that could end up in injury or worse if the resident happens to be armed.
Last Saturday night, after loud banging on a homeowner’s door, the resident called the sheriff’s department and as many as five patrol cars showed up searching for the offenders. We do not know if any kids were caught, but several frightened youngsters were seen running away.
The HOA Board is powerless to handle complaints related to playing ding-dong ditch. Instead, homeowners can call the sheriff’s department to report the incident. Parents are encouraged to speak to their children about the dangers of playing this prank.
The act of ding dong ditching is considered criminal trespass, and it can be dangerous if you accidentally aggravate a homeowner who overreacts. There is also the possibility it can cause a medical emergency that could result in hospitalization or even death.
Though there is no excuse for playing ding-dong ditch against strangers, it appears the kids are targeting homes that do not have porch cameras.