San Diego Police Work To Stop Door-To-Door Soliciting
As San Diegans head to the polls Tuesday, many campaigns will be going door to door encouraging people to vote. At the same time, the San Diego Police Department is working to crack down on door-to-door soliciting.
San Diego police Officer Matt Tortorella wrote in a post on the website NextDoor.com that police are getting more reports of "peddlers, interviewers and solicitors" canvassing city streets.
"In tough economic times, the water is warm and conditions are ripe for fraud, elder abuse, financial crimes and just downright falsely represented charities that are tantamount to outright theft," he wrote. "Let’s dive into the waters headfirst and lay some terms out for understanding."
He referenced San Diego Municipal Code 33.1402, which says, “All persons working as interviewers, solicitors, peddlers or vendors of merchandise, services, magazines, etc. are required to obtain a Police Registration Card. When operating, the card MUST be displayed on the front of their person, and they MUST exhibit the card to any peace officer upon demand."
Tortorella told KPBS this rule is not new, and he wrote the post to remind people to be on the lookout. He said if someone comes to your door, you should ask to see their registration card.
"Keep yourself and your family safe," he said. "And if someone refuses to show you that they're legitimate, that they have the proper ID, don't open the door for them and then call the police."
Nonprofits, political campaigns and religious groups don't need this registration card, he said. But, he said nonprofit solicitors should have a letter from their official organization and proof of their nonprofit status with them when they go door-to-door.
The post aims especially to target people knocking on doors to sell magazines and candy bars who claim to represent a charity, Tortorella said.
Here's more from the post:
"When home and someone knocks on the door without appointment, we recommend you acknowledge the knock and let them know you are home. People have been surprised when a burglar using soliciting as a front thinks no one is home and enters the home after getting no answer on a knock. Ask the purpose of the visit and observe through a peephole. If it is a solicitor, ask to see the 'Issued City License/ ID card of the person.' Do not open the door if it isn’t present or even if it is and you feel uncomfortable. Inform the person of your intention to call the police if they don’t have a license to solicit and then place a call to our non-emergency number of 619-531-2000. We would like you to report these persons as potential “casers” or suspects. Very rarely are good services and reputable companies using door-to-door solicitation as legitimate means of commerce. More than likely it will be someone using a ruse or scam to separate you from your money. All the stories of 'helping get to a college trip' or 'for poor children / women/ etc…' are by and large fictitious and should in no way be encouraged with your hard earned money. We regularly encounter vans full of out of state persons with criminal history staying in our motels / hotels for just this purpose."
"People very creative, especially when they're trying pull on people's heartstrings," Tortorella said.
The post also says no one can ring your doorbell or knock on your door if you've posted a sign that says “No solicitors,” “No soliciting” or “No solicitors or peddlers.”