PETALUMA (California) – Law enforcement is keeping an eye on a new video trend spreading TikTok.
It’s the “door kicking” challenge, in which young people kick someone’s door while listening to a Kesha song and then flee.
The prank started in college dorms, but it’s now spreading to neighborhoods, posing a safety risk.
“We don’t want students to be injured, and we don’t want community people to overreact,” said Petaluma Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Pritchard.
Pritchard has been warning people about the random door-kicking via social media and school contacts.
“Homeowners were enraged that their property had been harmed, so they called our dispatch center and requested that we respond.”
During the Thanksgiving weekend, two 911 calls were received from a northeast Petaluma area.
One of the doors was slammed shut with such force that it required hundreds of dollars in repairs.
Surveillance footage from the house indicates that it was a young individual who took part in the video challenge.
“It’s easy to see how this activity could be frightening to a homeowner who believes it’s a true home invasion,” Pritchard said. “Parents may teach their children that they should not participate, and we also want the community to understand that they should not react violently.”
Other previous TikTok competitions encouraged kids to hit a teacher or vandalize school property in order to win a prize and post the video.
“A soap dispenser was stolen from our school bathroom, so we see the consequences,” Lino Gomez-Fernandez, 13, said on a bike ride with his father in Petaluma Tuesday evening.
“If a youngster sees one of these dares, it’s just common sense,” Gomez-Fernandez explained, “since kicking through a door is unlawful, a crime, and you may get reprimanded, fined, or even go to jail.”
Together, the adolescent and his father watch TikTok.
They feel that parents who fail to monitor what their children watch and do are to blame for their children’s risky behavior.
“I’m not going to blame TikTok; it’s just a sign of the times,” David Gomez-Rosado said, “because those types of dares have always been with us, always been dangerous, but they feel heightened because of social media.”
TikTok has been under increased pressure to stop challenges and hoaxes that could endanger its young members.
This month, management stated that it intends to become more proactive.
The Petaluma Police Department is hoping that raising public awareness will stop the door-kicking habit before it spreads and someone is injured.
“You’re crossing someone’s threshold and knocking on their door in a society when home invasions are common,” Pritchard said. “That puts everyone’s safety in danger, and that is not a smart idea.”
Police are interested in hearing from other residents who have been the victims of door-kicking but have not reported it.
They warn young people that what may appear to be a harmless prank can have catastrophic consequences.
Pritchard cautioned, “These are illegal acts, vandalism, breaking and entering, and property damage, all of which are punished by law.”