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Urban living - Indecent Exposure

Original post made by Neighborhood watch, Pleasanton Valley, on Feb 2, 2009

Tonight my friend had a man knock on her door soliciting magazine subscriptions. He said he was from Missouri and working to raise money for Urban Living. Just after she opened the door, the phone rang and she closed & locked the door to answer the phone, only to find that nobody was on the line. When she returned to the door, the man was still there and she opened the door and he asked her to sign a doc that indicated to "his boss" that he had given her the sales presentation. Then he said, "there's one more thing you can do for me" and he unzipped his pants and dropped his drawers. She immediately closed and locked the door and called the police.

I, too , had a young man from Urban Living of Missouri knock on my door this last week. The interaction I had with him was relatively uneventful. And then I spoke with another friend this evening to tell her about tonight's incident and she told me that she also had a knock on her door this week. When she answered, there were 2 men from Urban Living of Missouri and when she said that she could not afford to help them out, one of them started verbally abusing her. She shut the door and they left.

The policemen that responded to tonight's indecent exposure incident said that they are well aware of this group's presence in the East Bay. Apparently, there is a large group in town and they literally knock on every door in town before passing on through to the next area. After my friend's experience tonight, I am more wary of this group's presence and just want to pass on a word of caution since it is obvious to me that the presence of this Urban Living group is not harmless. Has anyone else in town had any interactions like this within the last week or two?

Comments (25)

Posted by Karen
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 2, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Is Urban Living of Missouri even a legitimate non-profit org? I google the name "Urban Living of Missouri" and only found a couple of real estate firms by that name. I think they're a fraud.

Do you have some physical descriptions of these men so I can keep an eye out for them in my neighborhood? If I were you, I won't sign anything for them. Who knows what they intend to do with my signature?!

Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 3, 2009 at 12:11 am

Solicitors knocking on doors in Pleasanton have been a huge problem for me for some time now. They all have a BS line of introduction, and are trained to act in various dramatic ways when (and if) politely rejected. If you hesitate, they then throw a hook at you.

For example, you say "sorry, I am not interested" and quickly the hurt look and/or disbelief look is delivered. If you don't slam the door shut at this point, they will next try to engage you with some canned line because they now know they now have your attention. That is, you did not slam the door in their face, therefore, they can now play with you.

When I bother to answer the door at all, I do a very quick judge as to who they are, then usually interrupt them mid-sentence as they deliver their first lines. I say something to the effect that I am not interested while I stare back at them and their rehearsed rejection look, and then shut the door before they have a chance to further speak.

The reasons these groups come to Pleasanton are two. The community has many well-off residents who are good targets, and enough of you fall sucker to their frauds to make it worthwhile for them and others to continue coming.

I would like to think that we had anti-solicitor laws here in Pleasanton, but I think that is not the case because calling the police ends up not producing any effect. Anyways, it would be a poor use of police to chase solicitors, unless, of course, they begin to engage in breaking and entering, which may be occurring.

Our most recent experience involved the solicitor rattling the door knob to see if it was open because no one answered the door.

My advice is to just stop being nice to strange people who come to your door, disturb you in your home at all kinds of odd hours, and then try to sell you something or steal something from you.

Posted by patron of Main St
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 3, 2009 at 7:15 am

Post a sign near the door that says "no solicitors, smile for the camera." No one knocks on my door and the cheap camera tucked in a corner has not worked in years.

Posted by Julie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Julie is a registered user.

I did have a strange experience recently. Two men rang my bell and my dogs barked so loudly I couldn't hear what they were saying. I said "No Thanks" and one of them said he wasn't selling anything (yeah, right). I said, "Sorry, it's just too much right now" (the dogs were going crazy). One of them said something and they walked to the street where a white van was waiting. They got in and lingered a couple of seconds, then left. My neighbor called and asked if my kids had been dropped off by a white van. I explained what happened and she told me that the van had only gone to my house and that the woman driving was holding a map and was writing something.

Posted by patron of Main St
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I actually had someone knock at my door today -- obviously can't read the sign. I told him I would need to take his photo ID inside while calling the police to verify his license and that there were no complaints about his company. Surprise, surprise, when he realized that I was locked inside with his ID he left. If all of us would run them off and/or call the police to note the names of the solicitors we would have fewer of these predators hanging around.

Posted by MainStreetDiva
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm

MainStreetDiva is a registered user.

I had a man agressively ring the doorbell today -- I didn't answer, as I recognized him as one of the two solicitors from last week.

I set up my motion-sensor security camera again, and plan to get a "No Solicitors" sign tomorrow. They hung around the neighborhood far too long.

Posted by CherylinLivermore
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2009 at 8:42 am

Thanks for your comments. I'm in Livermore and often get solicitor's at the door. Never any problems, but thanks to your comments I will be highly aware. Thank you!

Posted by Doo Doo
a resident of Valley Trails
on Feb 4, 2009 at 8:55 am

My question is...when to call the police? I had a guy knock on my door around 4 oclock in the afternoon. I blew him off. He did look very suspicious (to me). So I kept an eye out. I noticed him walk by my house two times within the hour. My wife said she drove past him on our street at around 5:30. We left for dinner and came home and he was still walking (around the corner from my house) at 7:30pm. I live in a small neighbor hood and he just seemed to be there A LONG time. I saw no other people with him (real solicitors often knock in teams), no 'chase" van...I just saw him walking around aimlessly for over 4 hours. I have already been told by friends that if you call the police with no "real" reason (see him doing something illegal) then you will be accused of some sort of racism (thats only because they really can't do anything and they want to make you feel bad for 'profiling'...I guess thats their job).
I like to stay aware of whats going on in my neighborhood, so I have no problem keeping an eye out. But I can only watch my immediate neighbors. So when do I call the police. I felt I should have yesterday, but knew it would be a waste because technically he didn't do anything wrong?

Posted by Dood
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2009 at 9:48 am

Doo Doo: The guy is just trying to make an honest living...give him a break. It's good to be vigilant but being paranoid that anyone who roams around your neighborhood for hours have bad intentions is just pathetic.

Next time, approach him and see if you can offer him any assistance. That way, he'll know that the community is vigilant but also kind in offering people assistance.

Posted by Think Again!
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Feb 4, 2009 at 11:03 am

What are you people doing opening the door to people you DO NOT KNOW or can identify? If you are expecting someone but do not know what they look like ask them to identify themselves BEFORE unlocking and opening your door. If they will not leave another option is to grab your phone and let them see you in the window and that you are home and have a phone to your ear. Shake your head NO! They normally will go away knowing you have just told someone they are there at your door.

Posted by AVHS Dad
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Feb 4, 2009 at 11:09 am

I answer with one hand holding my dog and the other holding the door. If it's someone I know or recognize from the neighborhood, I listen and usually help them out/buy/whatever. Otherwise I give them about 15 seconds to make their pitch and say "No thank you." and shut the door whether they're finished or not. Pretty much the same with phone "surveyors" too.

Posted by Cautious
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Feb 4, 2009 at 11:12 am

I agree with Think Again. Why open the door to people you do not know or are not expecting? Don't put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation because you are worried about 'being rude' by not opening the door.

Posted by Jesse
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2009 at 11:13 am

I had a problem with a solicitor in Alamo where I work. It was about 6:30pm on a private street with no street lights in a woodshop on my grandparents land. My uncle and I were approached by a woman selling magazines for urban city children or something. She started out very friendly and talkative. After about 10 minutes of talking with and trying to figure out what her motive was my Uncle decides to by some magazines. He usually doesn't read them and the one he does read he has a lifetime subscription. He chose to magazine, because she said you have to buy more than one for her program to work (which we still don't understand). He pointed out the ones he wanted and a few minutes later after her supposedly figuring out all the math says it's 180$. This is for two magazines for one year. My uncle declines her offer and says no thanks the price is way to high and I don't really read them anyway. She starts to throw a fit and says you are wasting my time. He asks her to adjust the price a little and she does about 20$. Finally he just decides to go ahead with it to be nice. She says cash or check, he tells her that he doesn't have his check book and doesn't have 160$ cash on him at the moment and he thought that he would be billed. She starts yelling at him saying it is never billed and your wasting my time. It was silent for about two minutes and he says what do you want me to do. She says thanks for wasting my time God Bless and walks away back into the dark. No we assume it was a scam and there was no way to say no thanks and slam the door because it was a roll up door. It was very creepy. Being nice isn't always the best thing.

Posted by jp
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2009 at 11:37 am

We've been solicited by these 'mag crews' 4 times in the past couple weeks. I'm pretty sure twice by the same guy.

At first it was just annoying but then we had an experience almost identical to the one posted by DooDoo. We only have 100 homes in our neighborhood and the guy had been by at 4pm. At 7:30 he's still hanging around in front of houses, presumably waiting for 'the van'. I know this because I had gone out to move my car from the street and I spotted him, he saw me and awkwardly turned around and ducked into the shadows of a tree a few houses down. I needed to take my dog for a walk so I decided I would use that opportunity to see what he was up to. He came out of his spot and took off.

We have a neighborhood watch sign as you enter our street claiming that we report all suspicious activity to police. I did and I later saw a policeman questioning him. The next day, another guy from the mag crew is walking up our sidewalk and tries his pitch on my fiancee as she's leaving the house. It's approaching a level that I would consider harassing. The same company coming to your door day after day with the same nonsense after you've sent them away. There's a do not call registry but unfortunately we do not have a do not ring or knock registry (around here). I don't want to bother the police with these types of calls and I'm sure they would rather do other things than check solicitors licenses for warrants, but sometimes solicitors use their time to case neighborhoods for later crimes. If repeated soliciting were a crime maybe they would move on after the first round of rejections.

Anyway, if you're not aware of the problems associated with this activity do a google search on 'mag crews'. It an eye opener.

Posted by bonnie smith
a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 4, 2009 at 12:41 pm

we had them two weeks back, two days in a row. the first time I did open and this young man got quite belligerent when I said no thanks. next day round 4pm two of them came by and I did NOT open. We noticed they knock on a door and then were using a cell phone after - maybe to report "home" or "not home" ? I was about to call police but the cops did arrive and talked to them. It is definitely a scam and I suspect they are casing who is home at what time of day. the down side if you pretend not be home do they put you down as a possible "empty house" ?
Im going to just keep calling police if they show up.

Posted by Neighborhood watch
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 4, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Our Neighborhood watch officer said always call the police if someone is suspicious. If you see the white van call then. May keep them from ever visiting your door.
The police will make contact and record the incident -- that way if there is some crime - they know who to look for. 931-5122 is the business number (but it might ring dipatch anyways) I cannot stand the fake magazine solicitors and fake charities.

Posted by Cautious
a resident of West of Foothill
on Feb 4, 2009 at 1:28 pm

The community service officer that recently addressed a meeting I attended said you should NEVER open the door if you can not positively identify the person on the other side. But, you should always let them know you are home. A simple "Yes?" shouted through the door, and then a "No Thanks" once they respond, with no further dialogue lets them know that your house is not empty, but doesn't provide them access to you or the interior of your home.

Posted by chico
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Cautious is right. you should never open your door to a stranger or someone claiming to be a solicitor. you can politely tell them no thanks. i had one of the "mag crews" at my door a few weeks ago. i politely told her, "no thanks." and she kept going on about how she was trying to improve herself. i'm all for self-improvement, just not on my porch and not with my money. so i told her we could end the conversation one of two ways, one, "thanks, goodbye" or two, "thanks, i'm calling the police on you, goodbye"

she left.

Posted by rw
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm

I had three Mag.solicitors last week. One time it was a woman and a man. When I realized it was a solicitor I politely declined to open my door. The woman become very angry and started yelling at me. I will put up a NO SOLICITOR sign,but doubt it will help.
I did call the police to ask if they are licensed to solicite and I was told they are.
I will not open my door to any solicitors because other solicitors in the past have also become insulting and arrogant.

Posted by Patti
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 4, 2009 at 7:37 pm

These solicitors are in Birdland tonight also. Just had one at my door.
Thank goodness I was too busy with dinner to speak with the young man and told him so. Checking who is on your front porch before opening the door is a good practice to follow more seriously now of days.

Posted by ct
a resident of Siena
on Feb 6, 2009 at 12:39 pm

They came knocking at the door at my friend's (a single mother) apartment. Pushed the door open, and commented about the electronics, Wii game,etc that she had. They wouldn't take 'no' for a answer... and she felt that they were making a shopping list of what to come back for later. They were at my house today, and I called our Finest. I encourage everyone else to do the same. I hope that they will be gone from our safe city soon.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2009 at 10:08 am

You can get free "no soliciting" stickers from I put up the sticker after a nasty experience with a door-to-door solicitor and I've noticed that I don't have as many strangers knocking on my door. For those that still do, I don't open the door, just call out that I don't open the door to strangers, but they can leave material about their organization at the door, and after I've verified they're a legitimate charitable organization and have procured a City Of Pleasanton soliciting permit, I'll contact them if I'm interested.
However, now that I've been reading how it appears some of these solicitors may be "casing" homes, I will also start calling the Pleasanton police...even if the police can't come each time someone calls, they can probably come enough that the word will get out that Pleasanton isn't a good place to run soliciting scams.

Posted by aaron
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm

that is rediculous. what a piece of crap. if they knock on my door and dropped his drawers he would have a size 13 turning his outy into a ini. that's sad that people can't feel safe, why did we move here. for a feeling of safety and community. after reading some of these posts today, that doesn't seem present anymore. now a days i will probably be the only one answering the door. it's not worth risking my daughter, wife or anyone else put themselves in that situation. i am a very calm guy, but if some sick perve, dropped his trousers at my porch. he wouldn't be walking away. he would probably be leaving in a ambulace, then going to jail.

this could also be another round of thieves. this economy is tough right now, but i work and work and work. to make sure we are ok. i saw that they had been doing this to castlewood. which makes me think about the murder there last summer. and then the what if's? come to play.

Posted by perry
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 11, 2009 at 12:10 am

perry is a registered user.

One of these magazine solicitors at my door a few weeks ago from today (02/10/09). I live in the Valley View area and this african american guy in his 20's was very aggressive at the door and would not leave after me repeating "go away". I was ready to call the cops if he was refusing to leave.

Posted by Craig
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 17, 2009 at 6:41 pm

I smoked a blunt with two people from this group. They were very nice. I don't understand what all the fuss is about. They were obviously ex-meth-heads, but they were making an attempt to get their lives back on track. The man rolled an exquisitely designed blunt, he had a real talent for it. We smoked, talked, and they went on their way. No solicitor drama, just plain, down-to-earth working people trying to better themselves.

Honestly, you people are far too stuck up for your own good. Try not being so condescending, maybe you'll receive a better response.

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