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DOOR TO DOOR SOLICITATION: What to do to avoid harm.

Original post made by MIGUEL on Apr 6, 2010

Door to door solicitation has always been a problem where we live in Pleasanton. But, for some reason, there has been a deluge of solicitors knocking on my door every day. It is disruptive, and some of the aggressive actions of the solicitors is somewhat frightening. I called the Pleasanton Police Department and asked what I could do about it. Here is what they said: SOLICITORS MUST HAVE A PERMIT. Ask to see their permit. If they do NOT have one, call the Pleasanton Police Department and they will dispatch an officer to the scene. If they do have a permit, well, then it's a legitimate deal. I know we face tough times, but home safety is also a concern. I'm putting this notice on the Town Square because this is the best use of a forum such as this. Thank you.

Comments (22)

Posted by Vienna, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Thanks for the post Miguel. I won't even answer the door when I see some guy on my doorstep - and almost all solicitors are male. Someone came and rang my door bell at 2:30 in the afternoon this week. At least in the evening time there are more people around and the households are not so empty or consisting mainly of women alone in the home (sorry but it is still a reality). Last month I answered the door to two young men who introduced themselves as having been reformed heroine and meth drug addicts – FOR THE LAST 2 MONTHS. It was not a comfortable situation to tell them that I did not want to donate to their charity.

I think public solicitation has become almost a nuisance in many community settings. All the non-profit groups that camp outside of my grocery stores asking for some donation or purchase and scream at you in unison as soon as you enter and exit the doors. Then there are also all the groups trying to push their agendas at the entrance to the Farmers Market on Saturday. Learning more appropriate sales techniques would be a valuable lesson for most of these groups. Or at the very least decrease the barker techniques and increase the signage so people can make a choice in silence!


Posted by Kathleen, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Here is a very simple solution: It is your door and you do not have to answer it. Install a peep hole if you don't have one already, and simply do not answer it to strangers. Not that difficult, I promise.


Posted by kate, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2010 at 8:01 am

Kathleen. I thought so too, until a solicitor the other day kept banging and banging and ringing and ringing. I finally had to go to the door to let him no that I was not interested. He continued to push me, and then called me rude. So, it's not always as easy as you think.


Posted by ccwc, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Apr 7, 2010 at 8:28 am

It is true - solicitors MUST have a permit and if they do not - call the police.

I do NOT answer my door to strangers. I either see them coming and don't answer or use my peephole.

If they persist - I speak to them through the kitchen window. And if they persist - you can always call the police as well.

Make sure you have a No Soliciting sign on your door - doesn't always work - but in most cases it does.

We also have dogs - so no one wants to mess with that!

If you are not already involved in a Neighborhood Watch group - start one up - everyone on our street works together and I've gotten solicitors off this street just by telling them we are a non-soliciting neighborhood and the police will be called. After all - the N.W. Solgan is - ANY suspicious persons WILL be called into the police department.

And I also agree - the people that hang out in front of the grocery store (SAFEWAY) begging for money is quite annoying. Safeway does have the little red complaint cards - I highly recommend you fill them out EVERY time!! Power in numbers people!!!


Posted by peggy, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 7, 2010 at 8:32 am

When I am working from home, I always at least go to the door (intrusive as that is) so they know someone is home. I tell them I am not intersted through the closed door. I always wonder if people knock on the door to see if anyone is home ... maybe I was a "city kid" too long, but I want them to know someone is in the house just in case they are 'casing' to break in.


Posted by ccwc, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Apr 7, 2010 at 8:37 am

ALWAYS a good idea to let them know you are at home. Speaking through a closed door is good. If they don't leave - please don't hesitate to call the police!


Posted by m, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2010 at 10:06 am

I really like the idea of writing a suggestion to Safeway ... thank you for the thought ... also answering to let them know you are at home. Another good idea. For some reason our street is a cause-way for solicitors ... I don't like the insecure feeling I get when my wife and daughter are at home alone.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 7, 2010 at 11:00 am

Don't ever open the door. Call the PPD.


Posted by sandra, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2010 at 11:48 am

I had a dog until he passed away about 3 weeks ago - I would just say "Sorry can't answer the door right now." and my dog would bark until they left I had a scary incident last year where my daughter opened the door to a solicitor ( I was upstairs), and she called "Mom there is someone at the door!", so I had to deal with this person. My door has clear glass with a design on it, so the person can see we are moving about int he house, but I don't want to open the door, I just tell them through the door. I was taught when living in SF as a child never to open the door to strangers. I have told my kids over and over and she still did it - she was 16 at the time and should have known better.


Posted by Trudy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Another solution that seems rare or nonexistent in California is for the City Council to pass a so-called Green River Ordinance which bans door-to-door solicitation to any household without specific written permission from that household. Its very common in the Midwest, and it works.


Posted by Fran, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I used to live in a state with a much higher crime rate than California. There were never any articles in newspapers warning people to leave lights, radios, etc. on to make criminals think someone is at home. The criminals wanted residents at home so they could give them a ride to their ATM and then steal their car, or just so they could rape the at-home resident. It almost seems quaint to me when people talk about letting criminals know someone is home. I moved here partially because of the crime in my previous state.


Posted by M, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2010 at 2:40 pm

TRUDY ... that is a WONDERFUL IDEA: a Green River Ordinance .... that's it ... how does that happen ... I have no clue ... what can I do to initiate a constructive ordinance like that in Pleasanton.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Regarding permits-- how can you tell a fake one from a real one?


Posted by Spikeoh, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm

To prevent solicitors, greet them at your door with a firearm!!!


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 7, 2010 at 3:57 pm

for concerned parent -- you do not need to tell one permit from another. Just ask the person for their photo ID and tell them that you are going to call the PD business line to check out the permit. A legitimate person will not mind, a scammer will immediately leave. Lately I take my cell phone with me to the door and take a photo of them just in case I need it later.
Maybe if our fine city council members are done meddling in private (Castlewood) issues they can figure out how to get us an ordinance to stop soliciting.


Posted by Candyland, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Apr 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm

One solicitor came to the door last week and I didn't hear him knock because I had the water running doing dishes. So, I finally heard the door and when I opened it, he said "Boy, I thought you were never going to answer you were so busy with your dishes"!! I said, I am NOT interested in anything you have, but he pushed for me to listen and I told him I was done and NOT interested. He said "Just let me try and show you". I told him "No" one more time and then closed the door. He stayed there and didn't move. He finally left. It makes me very nervous like they are going to try and come in. I hate it. I had a guy come one night at 9:00 p.m.!! It scared me to death. I thought it was my Son, only not!! This should be stopped immediately.


Posted by Perhaps..., a resident of Canyon Creek
on Apr 8, 2010 at 12:57 am

it's just non-unionized people working hard to make an honest living in this devastating economy. Afterall, they don't have our city council standing up for their health care and pay raises. So give them a break and buy something...


Posted by Vulnerable, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2010 at 8:46 am

Great suggestions, and a timely post, Miguel. My 16-year old was leaving the house the other day, and was encountered by a man coming from our backyard! He showed her his business card and passed himself off as a solicitor, asking if she lived there and if her parents were home. Needless to say, I reported the incident to the PPD. Several months back, solicitors came to our door in the evening, and that night our vehicle in the driveway was broken into. Coincidence?


Posted by Member, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I saw this on a Stay Safe Program. I now keep a full can of Wasp Spray Repellant that shoots a stream 20 feet, by the door. I hold it in my hand when I answer the door. I WAS just going out to shoot the wasps under the roof, right? I have the lid off so if I do need it for safety I have it and you can shoot them in the face in defense. It is an idea promoted by Police Officers so I feel confident in writing this. The fact that it should be a little unsettling to the Solicitor, oh well...


Posted by Lee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Solicitors coming to the door are a hassle for everyone..unless they are the Girl Scouts selling cookies! I look through the window or peephole and if I don't know the person I don't open the door!! If they persist call the police and let them deal with it.


Posted by no name, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2010 at 9:09 pm

when solitors come up to our place. My husband (former MARINE) answers the door wearing boxers with a belt and holstered 1911 on his hip and they go away fast and never come back!!!!! It's a normal dress code and I'm very happy with his choice of clothing I feel very safe!!!! :)


Posted by ilovepw, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm

My neighborhood was robbed (court location) 1.5years ago and almost every car on street was broken into and one car was actually stolen. Very scary. Even scarier that my dogs didn't hear a thing and they usually bark at air. So the officer who did fingerprints on my vehicle told me that courts are the best location for these crimes due to minimal traffic in and out. ***What the police officer told me that really struck me was that these "so called" solicitors are hoping that you do not answer your door. If you don't, they will assume your not home and break in. The officer said to ALWAYS let them know someone is in the home. You don't have to answer the door, just let them know of your presence. Otherwise, they may break in and see you as a liability and who knows what could happen. Better to be safe then sorry.


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