Door-to-door solicitors may have other motives than selling magazines or services when going door-to-door, such as burglary or theft. In an effort to help combat against these types of crimes, the Manhattan Beach Police Department would like to offer the public the below safety measures.
Solicitors / Strangers at Your Door
When someone knocks at your door, always acknowledge you are home. Talk through the door without opening it. If you don't answer, and it happens to be a criminal, they may attempt to break into your home.
You are not obligated to open the door for anyone. Identification should always be verified before opening the door. A wide-angle door viewer is an absolute must if visibility of the person(s) is not possible. Service representatives should have appointments and not just "show up" at your door.
Do not rely on a door chain for security. Partially opening a door equipped with a door chain is not a safe practice. The door is not secured. A door chain cannot withstand physical force. To ensure your safety, follow these simple steps:
- Talk to the person through the door. If you don't know the person, don't open the door.
- Ask what they need. If it is a car problem, offer to call their road service for them. If it is an accident, call 9-1-1 for them. The idea is to keep them outside and you make the call for them.
- Ask them to stand by while you place the call. If the person(s) stays, it is a good chance that they are legitimate; however, if they leave quickly, it is probably a con artist.
As with any suspicious circumstances, information about the suspect is of great benefit to the police in locating the suspect. Take a good look at their face, clothing, any distinguishing features, direction of travel, another person, vehicle, etc.
If the person leaves quickly, consider it very suspicious - it would be best to call the Police Department immediately. Call 9-1-1 or (310) 545-4566 (Police dispatch center).
If it is a solicitor - someone trying to sell you something or asking for money (MBMC 4.01.010) - they must have a permit issued by the City's Licensing Division; Licensing can be reached at (310) 802-5557.
Look at the permit through your window or wide-angle door viewer. Make sure the dates are current. Possession of a permit does not mean that we endorse them. REMEMBER, even if you are convinced that the person knocking on your door is a legitimate solicitor, you have no obligation to open the door. You can simply tell the solicitor through the door that you are not interested.
Should you have concerns about the person knocking on your door and are thinking about calling the police, err on the side of caution and make the call. It is better to pass the information on. In the big picture, it may be the very piece of information the police need to stop an individual whose only purpose is to victimize you or your neighbor.
"No Soliciting" Signs
When a “No Soliciting, No Trespassing, No Handbills, Do Not Disturb” sign is posted at a residence, Manhattan Beach Municipal Code 4.01.100 prohibits solicitation on the premises. This code is legally enforceable by the police.
If there is a No Soliciting sign posted, it is illegal to solicit, regardless of whether or not the solicitors have a permit. Point out the sign to the solicitors and they should leave. If they don’t leave or give you a hard time, call police dispatch at 9-1-1 or (310) 545-4566. Again, we encourage you to let the solicitor know that someone is home, but not to open the door.
To obtain a "No solicitors" placard (pictured):
Get your block active in the Neighborhood Watch Program by calling the Neighborhood Watch Office at (310) 802-5183.
- For your convenience, you may also download the "No Solicitors" Placard (PDF), print the placard (in color preferably), and post it in a window by your front door.