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All solicitors ARE photographed

Original post made by Wayne, Mission Park, on Dec 20, 2008

Recent robberies in my neighborhood have led me to begin taking pictures of individuals and their support teams soliciting door to door. Unfortunately a common practice among thieves looking for targets is to approach houses soliciting donations and business.

This could be something we all quietly can do to protect our neighborhoods, and share vital information with authorities.

I will also be placing a sign in my window that will state something to the effect "All solicitors are welcomed to be photographed in my neighborhood."

Comments (13)

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Posted by Missy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Smart move, Wayne! People know where to go to take advantage of others. At least, you might be able to provide some "evidence" for the police, if necessary.


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Dec 20, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Wouldn't not answering the door serve the same purpose? Can't case what you can't peek inside to see.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 20, 2008 at 7:04 pm

I think Wayne's photographing suggestion has to do with ultimately providing police with evidence to catch perpetrators, and eventually to deter these kind of people from targeting Pleasanton neighborhoods because their risk of being caught is substantially elevated. Not answering the door does not nothing toward this end.


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Dec 21, 2008 at 6:47 am

Frank -- I don't disagree that Wayne has a valid point, but again -- one has to be willing to open the door to a stranger standing on your doorstep. "Frankly," if I don't know you, the knock is ignored.


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Posted by Wayne
a resident of Mission Park
on Dec 22, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Ignoring problems always tends to make them worse. It is not a door open or closed problem. Nor is this a single person problem. This is a community problem that requires a community solution. And you can't just tell people to keep your doors shut when most people are not home when their homes are broken into. The likely-hood that I would be taking a picture of the people breaking into my home is not very good.

This is more of a selfless gesture that costs me nothing and helps protect my neighbors. We have to stop expecting the problems around us to fix themselves, and if we can, do something about them.


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Dec 23, 2008 at 5:30 am

Wayne -- I don't disagree with your theory in concept. I think it is great to be involved. However, opening one's door to a stranger is dangerous these days due to a rising crime called "Home Invasion."

Until we get really tough on crime in California, all the pictures in the world won't help.



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Posted by agree don't open
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2008 at 8:23 pm

I mistakenly opened the door one evening as I was expecting someone. I have a policy of never doing this but was caught totally off guard. There were two young men and they saw the horrified look on my face when I realized the mistake I made for opening the door then talking to them. They tried to sell me some service, but were unclear about what it was. Also they had no cards and no business name! I felt like a total idiot so I immediately shut the door.

the thing is the first reaction is not to be rude but it should be to be safe. I feel bad for people trying to make a living selling door to door but unfortunately that is not always the case, just a front.

Dont open the door to strangers!!!!


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Posted by Wayne
a resident of Mission Park
on Dec 24, 2008 at 9:28 am

The danger of rising crime is due to the inaction and expectation of citizenry whom believe the power of their safety resides in the hands of others. Living in fear by ourselves can makes us powerless, but when the heavy lifting is shared we can overcome the insurmountable.

I don't generally open my door to strangers, but I have windows I drive in and out of my neighborhood. I have the opportunity to document the people who are in my neighborhood soliciting or out of place.

A simple easy thing that can make a difference.


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Posted by Wondering...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 24, 2008 at 10:53 am

Wayne -- Valid Points, but you are assuming your way is the only way to take action and share the heavy lifting.

I have other methods in place to assist both myself and my neighbors from becoming victims of crime.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 24, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Per the PPD Community Services Officer - Don't open your door to anyone you don't know. If you feel you must speak to them, do it through the door. You have no obligation to open your door to anyone except law enforcement and they're required to show identification upon request.

If suspicious - Call the PPD. They take no call lightly...


Wondering,

Good point. I agree wholeheartedly...


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Posted by flat-chested from Stepford
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 26, 2008 at 11:53 am

I don't think I would open my door to a stranger and greet him "SAY CHEESE!" However, Wayne's idea is great. If you can unobtrusively photograph suspicious people, cars, etc., it may be very helpful to law enforcement. I have always told my daughter that if some creepy person is following her around the mall or whatever, to stop, take out the cell phone, and take their photo. It's a good bet they will leave you alone, and showing the photo to mall security will allow the creep to get a taste of their own medicine, when THEY are followed and harassed.


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Posted by agree don't open
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 21, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Jerry, we called the PPD last night when a solicitor appeared at our door after 8pm. The PPD told us that a van drops people off every night and then should soon be gone home. They didn't seem to care at all that the person appeared very suspicious, with no products, paperwork or anything on his person. Plus he was wearing a hoody!

What is up with PPD - I don't think they have any answers for residences on this issue.


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Posted by Member
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 25, 2009 at 1:17 pm

In regards to solicitors, and the above comment that PPD does care: let's clarify the issue. It is the City of Pleasanton and not the police department that issues permits to solitors in town. This is not to say that every company takes the right route and goes through the city, but many try. While we would probably all prefer no solicitation (I know I would) but certain laws prohibit discrimination, so the city asks companies to get permits so that we may keep as much track of these people as legally possible. Keep in mind 95% of people coming to your door are bussed in from out of state with the promise of a job "working with dynamic young people in sunny California." Once here, they find out the true nature of the job and that they do not like being dropped off in neighborhoods all day to hoof it around being turned down at every turn. Most would like to go home, but more often than not cannot afford the bus fee home, and are not on good terms with family to ask them for money to do so. They are cleared for warrants, but more often than not, have criminal records, suspended driver's licenses and the like. I would no sooner give money, a check or personal information to these people than I would post my social security number on You Tube! The best course of action is to ask who is at your door first. This has two purposes: you not only find out if you want to open the door, but you alert the person that you are home. For those miscreants prowling neighborhoods looking for an easy burglary to an unoccupied home it let's them know the home is occupied. Home invasions are very rare whereas burglaries to unoccupied dwellings are not. Secondly, and this one is really simple, if you do not know the person simply do not open the door. Say "No thank-you" and walk away. Solicitors often say they are from one of the local high schools and often have the school names memorized. Don't fall for it. If you want to support the local schools you can do so directly to the school in the name of whatever sport/activity you choose. Or ask the student for their home number to verify. If I am not mistaken, the schools discourage the students from going door to door anyway.
That being said, many people will not even inquire who is on the other side or what they want and then call the police. Pleasanton is a safe community, but that is not to say that the police have nothing to do. Families fight here, people sell drugs, people steal and get into car accidents. Calling to say that someone knocked on your door at 4pm and you did not ask who it was or open it but you need it checked out is a little extreme unless there is something more to support a cause for concern. People do still knock at doors for perfectly reasonable things- it's not a crime!
Of course a solicitor after 8pm is not only irritating, but concerning. We make every attempt to check them out any time of the day and run every last one for warrants. You may call and descibe one that has been checked out previously that day(often more than once by different officers)and in that case we have no legal reason to continue to stop them. If it were up to the police department we would prohibit solictors entirely, but that is not allowed. You have the ACLU to thank for that one, not the City of Pleasanton!


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