In addition to daffodils, warmer weather brings unwelcome solicitors. A consistent, clear, and concise approach to solicitors will benefit your family and all your neighbors.
1) POST “NO SOLICITING” on or beside your door. Do this now while you’re thinking about it–just put pen to paper and tape it up.
2) If you are in your home, when a solicitor knocks, DO NOT OPEN or answer THE DOOR. Ignore them and advise babysitters to do the same. Some authorities suggest that you demonstrate that someone is home by speaking to the person loudly through the locked door. If you choose to speak, keep it very brief & simple: “Please leave. No soliciting here. Thanks.”
3) If you are out in your yard, and see a solicitor coming toward your home, you can:
a) go inside immediately and lock the door, see above.
b) show through your actions (and words, if necessary) that the solicitor should stay away. Put your arm and hand out in an obvious STOP motion and keep it there–pretend you are a crossing guard. Nod your head in a clear NO motion. If they keep coming or start to speak, say firmly: “NO Soliciting. (Please) stay out of my yard and do NOT speak to me.” Ignore whatever they will say next in an attempt to engage you in conversation, for instance “can I just ask a quick question?; can you give me directions?, you don’t have to buy anything; will you just sign my book to say I tried?,” etc. Avoid the temptation to be “nice.” If necessary, maintain your crossing guard stance and simply repeat what you said above. If they come any closer to you or your family or continue to speak to you, this person is now harassing you and trespassing. Get out your phone and dial 862-8600.
4) E-mail/text/call your immediate neighbor friends to give them a heads up and let them know you have seen solicitors on the street. Remind them not to answer the door.
5) All solicitors must have individual permits displayed on their person. Soliciting without a valid permit is illegal–a misdemeanor. Hopefully, you won’t be in close enough contact with a solicitor to ask to see their permit, but if you choose to do so, and they can not produce their permit on the spot or the permit is expired or the photo does not match the person in front of you, call 862-8600 immediately to report it.
This attachment from Metro Police provides permit information and a picture of what a Davidson County solicitation permit looks like:
As a mom, my inclination in the past when out in the yard with my children was to try to be nice to these folks. We all want to model polite behavior for our children, but this always backfires with solicitors. Nice will get you no where with these folks, in fact they will deliberately use it and your desire to avoid conflict to manipulate the situation. Hopefully, our children see us being polite a lot, so take this opportunity to show them how to set boundaries. Firm and clear. Imagine if this person were a predator, would you want your child to “be nice” and talk to them?? NO.
Un-permitted solicitors were in the neighborhood on Friday, Feb. 22 and were reported via 862-8600 by Heady Rd. Street Rep Liza Coleman. Please be on the lookout. Let’s all follow the suggestions above, and if you have questions, suggestions, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Crime & Safety Committee Chair Shooter Stein. Thanks!