Door-to-Door Safety - Page 2

Law enforcement shares tips in response to sketchy solicitors knocking on Eichler doors
Fridays on the Homefront
Along the Highlands' Eichler streets today. Photo: Sabrina Huang
Fridays on the Homefront
Photo: David Toerge

Several residents posting on NextDoor have had bad experiences with solicitors, including the two who sparked the recent strings and others before.

"I never answer the door unless it's someone I know, or they have made a previous appointment. Living in San Francisco taught me that it can cost you dearly if you do," said Dede H., evoking the strategy recommended by local law enforcement.

"The first thing we recommend is don't open the door for anybody you don't recognize," said Blankswade. If approached in front of your home or on the street, she said, "If it's something you don't want, just say no and end the conversation right there, walk away—that's it."

"People should go with their intuition," she advised. "If they don't want to have a conversation, then don't."

"You can make people believe that there are more people in the house by announcing, ‘I'll get it,' if nobody's home," advises San Mateo Police Sgt. Amanda Van Glahn of solicitors at the door. "This is especially important for kids who might be home alone…Teach your children the tactics of what to do if anybody comes to the door or if they're looking through windows."

"It's always better to call 911 and just have us come and check it out, for the safety of everyone," Blankswade recommends along with use of front-door peepholes and camera security. "There's a lot of great technology out there, like the Ring app."

"We appreciate good descriptions of the person and the direction they headed. If they can get a look, that's helpful to us," she said. Undoubtedly one source of fear about shady solicitors is crime by forced entry.

"It's pretty rare. In my 12 years of law enforcement, I haven't had too many circumstances of that happening," said Blankswade, conceding that there was such a crime recently in nearby Woodside.

"They're not often, but they do happen," said Van Glahn, commenting, "San Mateo, in the grand scheme of things, is a sleepy town."

And if one is looking for more assurance, consider Blankswade's past experience patrolling the Highlands, or ‘40 Beat,' as the Sheriffs call the unincorporated part of the Highlands.

"That was a call we got often," she said regarding magazine salesmen. "Eichler Highlands community is very good about notifying us."