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Local communities crack down on door-to-door solicitation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Several communities in central Indiana are cracking down on door-to-door solicitors, after a series of home and car break-ins.

Geist is the latest area to take a stand on door-to-door solicitors. Tom Britt, the President of Homeowners Association, said groups of people would canvas the areas, acting as salesmen, looking for homes that would make easy targets.

This week, the HOA voted to spend $2,000 to install “No Soliciting” signs at every neighborhood entrance. They hope this will discourage crooks and unwanted guests from going door-to-door.

“We’ve had some thefts from that. We’ve had some people marking which houses have dogs,” said Britt.

It’s the same problem homeowners in Lawrence are trying to tackle.

“There have been many people going throughout neighborhoods posting as door-to-door sales, when in fact they are looking for homes to rob,” said Jeff Coats, a republican councilor on the Lawrence Common Council.

After weeks of pest control schemes, and scammers who prey on misfortune, both communities said they’ve had enough.

“After major weather events, people are getting ripped off for a roof job that never actually get done,” said Coats.

Lawrence recently passed an ordinance requiring all solicitors to get a permit from the city. Legitimate solicitors will go through a background check, and receive a permit and photo ID they must carry with them while going door-to-door.

If someone knocks on a door to sell something without the permit, Coats recommends homeowners call the Lawrence Police non-emergency number. The police officers will ask the solicitor to leave.

Britt said some solicitors in Geist have had warrants for their arrest in other states. The HOA said homeowners should call police if they notice someone suspicious.

The “No Soliciting” signs have no legal weight, but Britt said he hopes they will make criminals think twice.

“The correlation between solicitors and just little petty crimes in your neighborhood — the direct correlation to that. So if we can Keep the solicitors out, we have a better chance at cleaning up our own neighborhood,” said Britt.

Geist and Lawrence aren’t alone in this problem. Fishers has a solicitation ordinance in place, and neighborhoods on the south side are working on ways to address the solicitation problem.