Authorities are warning the public about a social media trend in which people are encouraged to kick the front doors at private residences and flee.
Popularized on TikTok, the door kick challenge is a modern version of ding-dong ditch, a prank in which a doorbell is rung and the pranksters run away. In the TikTok door kick challenge, perpetrators are encouraged to kick doors while listening to Kesha’s song “Die Young.”
Authorities are concerned that unsuspecting homeowners will think that someone is trying to break in and the prank could result in unintended consequences. Such was the case on Feb. 10 in Hancock Park, when four male teens kicked a door repeatedly around 11 p.m. at a house in the 300 block of South Las Palmas Avenue.
The homeowner heard the noise, looked outside and saw three people wearing black hooded sweatshirts, ski masks and backpacks fleeing on scooters. When the perpetrators returned a few minutes later and kicked the door again, the homeowner notified authorities, jumped in his vehicle and chased the suspects, said Hancock Park Homeowners Association president Cindy Chvatal-Keane.
“[They] heard this big ruckus at the door and went to see what it was. It turned out to be 14 and 15 year olds, but you wouldn’t have known. It’s silly, it’s dangerous and everybody is on high alert.”
The teens were apprehended in the 300 block of Hudson Place, approximately four blocks from the victim’s home. The teens were initially detained by SSA, a security company that operates in Hancock Park, and were turned over to police. They admitted to committing the prank and apologized to the homeowner, Chvatal-Keane said. One of the teens lives nearby on Wilcox Avenue, she added, but she didn’t know where the others live. The teens were later turned over to their parents.
Lt. Mark Ro, with the LAPD’s Wilshire Division, said police have not specifically connected the Feb. 10 incident to the TikTok challenge, and he characterized the incident as a prank. There was no burglary or breaking and entering, and no property damage. However, he said the door kick challenge is a problem waiting to happen.
“There are definitely concerns tied to it,” he said. “With property crime [increasing], we really don’t want to give anybody an excuse to be up to no good. It is a very irresponsible way for kids, and adults, to act.”
Ro said the Wilshire Division has not received other reports about the door kick challenge. He hopes a warning will dissuade people from getting involved. People who are victimized are encouraged to call police. The Hancock Park Homeowners Association issued a bulletin about the Feb. 10 incident to all members.
“It’s just senseless,” Chvatal-Kean added.
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