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City alerts residents on solicitor safety

CARLSBAD — In the summer months, solicitors tend to wander around neighborhoods for more lengthy periods of time because of the extra daylight hours the season brings. Some reports reveal that residents are getting knocks on their front door up until 9 p.m.
The city of Carlsbad continues to alert residents on safety guidelines on what they should do if they are encountered by a door-to-door solicitor, or in some cases, a solicitor by phone.
“The safest action is to not interact with strangers at your door,” said Jodee Sasway, Crime Prevention Specialist at the City of Carlsbad Police Department. “Anytime you give a stranger cash, personal information or jobs around your house, you run the risk of being scammed.”
The rule of thumb is to have as little interaction with a stranger as possible. This way, a person will be less likely to be hooked into a swindle.
Sasway said one common scam is when people solicit for an illegitimate organization.
“When speaking to a stranger at your front door, you have a limited amount of time to decide if what the stranger is telling you about their organization is correct,” she said. “It’s best to verify their claims before giving a stranger cash or check, or purchasing their products or services.”
Some solicitors have even claimed to be representing the city of Carlsbad. In cases such as this, Sasway said to always call the city to verify a solicitor’s claim. And above all, never invite a solicitor into a home.
Sasway also pointed out that asking for references and contacting both the Better Business Bureau and the city of Carlsbad for further confirmation are wise choices.
Because seniors tend to spend more time at home and may live alone, Sasway said, there is a greater opportunity they may confront solicitors at their front door more often than others. A scenario like this is what scam artists hope for.
Again, limiting interaction with strangers is the best advice.
Law enforcement agencies encourage its residents to help be their eyes and ears in a neighborhood — Sasway describes it as teamwork. By knowing the normal activity in an area, something that’s out of place will be recognized immediately.
Having a Neighborhood Watch Block is one way to do this. In Carlsbad, there are hundreds of residential areas that have earned this designation. And those numbers continue to grow.
“Neighborhood Watch is a police department facilitated, community action program,” Sasway said. “Neighbors get to know each other, learn what is normal in their neighborhood, work as a team to watch out for the whole neighborhood and learn the best way to use resources like the police department.”
Knowing the normal “happenings” in a neighborhood strengthens it because when something is out of place or even suspicious, it will stand out.
Public safety is a top priority for the City of Carlsbad, Sasway said.
“We work in partnership with our community to help prevent crime and encourage the public to immediately report crime if it occurs,” she said.
Call the city if Carlsbad at (760) 434-2820 for further information on solicitor verification assistance and safety regarding the subject.