Letter: Don’t open door to anyone you don’t know

To the editor:

Regarding the July 14 editorial, “Residents help enforce regulations on solicitors,” county officials have revised regulations regarding peddlers/solicitors in unincorporated Johnson County. Two peddlers recently in the Center Grove area were found not to have a license; one was wanted on a warrant for probation violation.

Gone are the good ol’ days when many left their front doors unlocked. Gone are the days when you open the door to someone you don’t know.

The editorial indicated if a solicitor attempts to conduct business at a home or in a neighborhood where “no soliciting” signs are posted, that person can be arrested. The new regulation reads “No person shall, with or without a license, enter upon private property where any form of sticker or sign is clearly displayed advising that the occupant does not wish to be called upon by peddlers, canvassers, and/or solicitors …”

Therefore, signs at the entrances of an addition, street or neighborhood may not meet requirements for turning away such intruders as indicated in the editorial. Some peddler will now probably make a lot of money going door-to-door selling “no soliciting” stickers to individual homeowners. Hopefully they get a license first.

Suggestion No. 1: County officials should let us know if each individual homeowner needs a sign/sticker or if one at the entrance to the addition is sufficient.

The editorial stated that residents need to help law enforcement by asking to see the permit and then calling police if the person at the door can’t produce it. Uh? The revised regulations states “The license holder must carry license at all times … and shall exhibit the license … upon demand of any law enforcement officer ….” The regulation does not state that the license must be shown to the homeowner.

Many peddlers in the past believe that if they hold a license from Greenwood or Franklin that it is valid anywhere in the county. So most peddlers will tell you they have a license, when most don’t, and they do not need to show you the license even if you ask. Therefore it is rather useless to ask if they have a license; most will lie.

Suggestion No. 2: If there is someone at the door that you do not recognize, do not open the door. Call the sheriff’s dispatch at 346-6336, and let the sheriff’s deputy determine if the peddler has a license.

Most peddlers are probably very legitimate, but all it takes is one who overpowers you at the door and puts you, your family, household and the whole neighborhood in danger. And if a few neighbors answer their doors, it encourages the peddlers to continue. Therefore, all neighbors should refuse to open the door if they don’t know the person.

Suggestion No. 3: The issue of peddlers placing fliers in your paper box or on your front door knob was not addressed in the regulations. Even if no one is knocking at your door but distributing fliers, they also could be scouting to determine the age of the occupants, easy entrances, items worth returning for later, etc. Hopefully this issue will be addressed by county officials soon.

Thanks to the Daily Journal staff for educating and advising us of the issue of peddlers/solicitors.

Finally, do not open the door to anyone you don’t know. Those days are gone or should be. If they appear to be solicitors, call 346-6336. (You can usually tell if they are peddlers because they carry a clipboard/handout-material or wear company logos/clothing.)

Dr. Dick Huber