Knock, knock, knock — summer means door-to-door salespeople.
Amherst police chief Joseph Kucirek recently issued some advice and warnings for city residents dealing with solicitors. Note that solicitation is covered by Amherst codified ordinance section 741, which can be read at www.goo.gl/t3FmXM.
IN THE CHIEF’S WORDS
“While legitimate businesses often employ solicitors to help their business grow and for a variety of other reasons, it is no secret that burglars often use the ruse or actions/mannerisms of a door-to-door solicitor to case and then break into a vacant or unoccupied residence.
“Police departments, including ours, often get complaints from residents about solicitors for a variety of reasons. Generally speaking, if people are soliciting or canvassing for religious organizations, charitable organizations, newspaper subscriptions, at a business establishment, or for political purposes, they do not need a permit. Other than that, feel free to ask for a permit before engaging in conversation with them. You can make sure the permit is current by examining it and feeling for the embossed APD patch on the actual permit. Permits are valid for six months.
“If there is no permit, an expired permit, or the solicitors are ‘high pressure’ or are being an annoyance, please text the Amherst police at 440-988-4422 or call 440-988-2625 with as much information as possible. Keep an eye on them until officers get into the area. Unfortunately, these are low priority calls and are answered as time permits, so response times may vary greatly. In addition, we have no problem revoking the permit of a high pressure sales person when we get more than one complaint.
“Due to a huge increase in the number of solicitor applications where the person is from out of state, we have recently updated city ordinance language to include the requirement of an FBI/BCI fingerprint check, in addition to any other background checks that we perform prior to issuing a solicitor’s permit. The solicitor applicant bears the cost of these checks, not the city. We’ve done this to help keep the community as safe as possible.
“As always, please contact the police department if you have any questions or concerns on this or any other suspicious or criminal matter.”