By Jack Fink, CBS 11 News

GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) –  After a rash of crimes, police in Garland are training residents on how to answer the door safely when they’re home alone.

The department is producing a public service announcement to warn residents what can happen if they ignore the door when a stranger knocks or rings the bell. In the video, a woman seen in her kitchen doesn’t answer, and the visitor presumes no one is home.

It turns out to be a surprise for both of them: The man bursts through the back door, just feet away from the resident inside her kitchen.

He runs out the back door while she darts out the front door. It happened last January to a Garland resident named Natalie, who asked to have her last name withheld.

“I was totally terrified,” she said. “I didn’t open the door. I walked around into my living room and I peaked out the window and saw a car drive into my backyard. I ran out the front door and ran to my neighbor’s house.”

Police caught the suspect inside her home. And Natalie isn’t alone.

Garland police say this has become mo re frequent in the past year, happening at least several times a month. The most recent incident happened Thursday to two police officers.

If a stranger comes to the door, police say not to open it, but to let the person know you’re home.

“They can say, ‘Hey, we’re sick today, who is it?’ More than likely that person is going to leave,” said Joe Harn, a Garland Police Department spokesman.

As for Natalie, she said she believes the city’s new video campaign will help protect themselves and their property. When the video is finished, police said it will air on the city’s cable channel.