By Senior Officer Larry Jacobs
Illegal or unauthorized door-to-door solicitation can present an unsafe situation for residents. Individuals who seem like legitimate business people are sometimes conducting fraudulent or criminal activity. The following are suggestions about how to create and maintain a safe and secure residential environment and how to handle the unwanted or unauthorized solicitor.
- Residents usually know what is normal behavior and activities in their neighborhoods. Notice strangers or those people that do not belong and keep a close watch for suspicious activity. If a person behaves suspiciously, you should call 911.
- If you receive a knock at the door from an unfamiliar person, you should be very cautious about opening the door.
- It is important to note that a knock on the door should not go unanswered — whether you open the door or just talk through it. A criminal posing as a solicitor may be looking for an empty house to burglarize, so it is important to let the caller know someone is home.
- A door-to-door solicitation could lead to a home invasion. If someone is at the door claiming to require assistance, don’t open the door. Call 911.
- Citizens who encounter an illegal solicitor or suspicious person should alert their neighbors (Hence the importance of the Neighborhood Watch program).
- We recommend that you do not engage or enter into a discussion about the purchase of items or services from anyone who solicits at your door. If items or services are needed, you should pursue the purchase through established businesses.
- All Sandy Springs businesses including door-to-door solicitors, must have permits to operate. City Ordinance 26-217 requires that a solicitor, except those representing religious organizations, be able to produce the permit on request. Any solicitor who can’t produce one should be considered illegitimate.
Senior Officer Larry Jacobs works in the crime prevention division of the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached at email@example.com.