Door to door solicitors come in many shapes and sizes. They can offer deals on magazines, energy audits, opportunities to sign petitions, cookies, and much more. Most of the time they are what they are, but homeowners should always be wary when strangers come to visit.
Please heed these crime prevention tips when dealing with solicitors to help protect you, your family, and your property:
- Never open the door to someone you do not know.
- Always look through the peephole or window and see who it is.
- Teach your children what to do if they are alone and someone comes to the home or is looking in windows.
- If you do not know them, say “No thank you” through the door and walk away.
- Do not get into a conversation with a solicitor through the door. They will try to converse with you but getting into a conversation of any kind with a solicitor only encourages them to stay.
- If solicitors try to approach you while you are outside, do not let them approach. Say, “No thank you,” and walk back into your house and close and lock your door. A conversation only encourages a solicitor.
- If the solicitor does not go peaceably on their away, call the police for assistance.
- Follow identify theft prevention guidelines by never giving credit card information or a check to anyone who solicits you and you do not know. It is often very difficult to determine if someone is legitimately representing a real organization or charity.
- Watch where the solicitor goes next and notice what they do. Look for suspicious behavior such as looking in car windows, testing doors for locks, or entering back yards.
- Report aggressive or suspicious solicitors to law enforcement immediately at 911 (aggressive or threatening) or Non-Emergency 512-268-3232 (suspicious). Provide a description of the solicitor and what direction they were headed.
- Alert other neighbors in the immediate area. If you have a Neighborhood Watch, immediately contact your NW Chairperson who can notify the other residents of this activity.
City of Kyle ordinance, “Peddlers, Solicitors and Vendors,” states any person desiring to go from house to house or from place to place, or to own, operate, or control a temporary location or stand on a public street or right-of-way in the city, to sell or solicit orders for goods, wares, merchandise, services, photographs, newspaper, magazines, or subscriptions to magazines, shall obtain a permit from the City. Residents are advised to ask to see this permit and to not conduct business with anyone not in possession of the proper permit.
State law allows licensed alarm companies and insurance companies to be exempt from requiring a solicitor’s permit. While the City cannot enforce its ordinance against them, private property owners can still have “No Trespassing” or “No Solicitation” signs on their property and if these vendors violate that, they could be apprehended. A “No Solicitation” sign posted at the entrance of a neighborhood is not enforceable by the police department, individual signs at a residence can be enforced.