From Solicitor to Home Security Risk-What Every Resident Needs to Know to Stay Safe When Strangers Come Knocking

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From Solicitor to Home Security Risk-What Every Resident Needs to Know to Stay Safe When Strangers Come Knocking

Door-to-door solicitors are not only a common annoyance among residents, they are also a common home security risk. With clever criminals posing as everyday salespeople, residents place themselves at risk every time they open the door to a stranger. 

An example of this can be seen in a recent 1011Now news report out of Omaha, Nebraska. According to the article, a female suspect was scouting out homes by disguising herself as a cleaning services sales rep. The crook was witnessed returning to various homes to steal packages from the doorsteps not long after visiting the homes.

Though this thief’s focus appeared to be packages, there are criminals that pose as solicitors to scout out residences for a burglary or home invasion. All it takes is an unsuspecting resident to let their guard down and open their door them. In some cases, this is easily achieved by appearing clean-cut and reputable. Some are so convincing they are sometimes able to get a resident to invite them into their home.

When it comes to protecting against predators disguised as solicitors, it’s important to educate yourself and pass on your knowledge to everyone who lives in your home. The following is some essential information about solicitors and home security that is important for you and your family to know.

Soliciting Laws and Regulations

There are laws that regulate solicitors. The problem is that these laws vary from state to state and even city to city. For example, some states oversee solicitors of charities, which are often times required to register before asking for charitable contributions from residents. Business/sales solicitors, however, are typically regulated by the county or city they do business in.

In some cases, city regulations prohibit soliciting if a resident has a “No Soliciting” or “No Trespassing” sign posted somewhere on their property. The problem is that some solicitors fail to see the sign or simply ignore it and claim they did not notice it when confronted. While a solicitor can be reported and found guilty of trespassing, these are rare instances. In most situations charges will not be brought against the solicitor because it is difficult to prove that a solicitor saw the sign. It comes down to one’s word against another’s. District attorneys and prosecutors have a plentitude of more serious crimes to address.

So when it comes to solicitors, as a resident, it’s up to you to ensure your safety and the safety of your family. Calling the police every time a salesperson shows up at your door isn’t reasonable. Implementing a home security plan and ensuring your family follows the various safety measures you put in place is the best way to secure your home against the threat of strangers that show up at your door.

Home Security Tips to Protect Against Strangers Behind Your Door

Legitimate solicitors for businesses and charities are required to register for and carry permits when soliciting residents. The problem is that there is no way to know if a permit that someone shows you is legitimate. Such documents can be easily forged with a home computer, scanner, and printer. 

As home security specialist, Jordan Frankel, warns, no matter how clean-cut or innocent the person on the other side of your door appears, you should NEVER open your door to a stranger. With that said, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to speak to a stranger who appears at your door, whether it because you left your front door open or your child mistakenly answered the door, the following are some security measures to follow:

  • If your front door is open and the only barrier between you and the stranger is a screen door, politely ask the person to step back from the door before approaching the door yourself. If they follow your instructions, approach the door. As you go to close and lock the door, either tell the person you are not interested or ask that they leave their sales information on the ground where they are standing and retrieve it later.
  • To prevent a potential intruder from busting through your front door, install a quality security door brace at the base of your front door. Click here to see a video demonstration of how the OnGARD security door brace can prevent forcible entries.
  • If you have a big dog, have it next to you when you go to the door. Don’t let the stranger pet your dog or let on that your dog is friendly. Make the stranger believe it is not safe to approach you or your dog. Let your dog bark as much as it wants while the stranger is present.
  • NEVER invite an unexpected stranger into your home—even if they are a legitimate sales rep. If you want to learn more about what they have to offer, call the company at a later time and schedule an appointment on your terms.
  • If your home is equipped with an alarm system, don’t hesitate to use the panic button or set the alarm off if you ever find yourself in a situation that feels unsafe. You can also use your car remote to set off your car alarm to attract attention to the scene. 
  • If you ever feel uncomfortable in any situation, call 911. 

Play it Safe When a Stranger Comes Knocking 

When someone comes knocking at your door, it’s better to play it safe than risk your safety and the safety of your family. The most effective way to maintain the security of your home is to adopt a closed door policy to all strangers. There is nothing a solicitor has to offer that is worth the risk of opening your door to a potential intruder in disguise.