By Marilyn Gildea

We’ve had a number of young solicitors recently who claim to live here or be related to a neighbor, so I consulted Liz Wylie at the police department. Here’s her response:

Many of the solicitors in our area are operating legally; it is not very difficult to obtain the necessary permits. That said, MANY of them are illegal.

This type of call is low on our priority scale. We will send an officer as soon as possible. If it has been a while since the call came in, dispatchers may send out a general BOL [Be On the Lookout]. If we find the person(s), we will check to see if they are operating legally. If they aren’t, we will check to make sure they aren’t wanted for a crime. If they personally are clean, we usually give them a warning to stop soliciting. If they are repeated offenders, they are given a citation and released at the scene.

If the solicitors are acting aggressively, trying to get inside your home, asking personal questions, or otherwise acting suspiciously, we need to know! That may make it a higher priority call with a faster response time. Call 903-6395, or if you feel threatened, 911.

Important: You should NOT pretend to not be home when solicitors knock on your door. Instead, use your peephole to see who it is. Talk to solicitors through the door or a window. Do not feel that you need to open the door. If you are not interested in what’s being offered, tell them without opening the door.

Some burglars act as solicitors before burglarizing a home. They want to be sure no one is home before they search for an unlocked window or door. If you ignore their knock and they think you are not home, they may try to break in. It is dangerous to interrupt a burglar attempting to break into your home. And even more dangerous to confront one already inside your home.