With warmer weather we tend to see an increase in solicitor activity, and every year officers respond to calls about suspicious or aggressive door-to-door solicitors. In some cases, offenders pose as solicitors or delivery people, knocking on doors to determine if anyone is home. If no one answers, they move to the back of the home (out of sight from the street), and locate an unlocked window or force their way in. If someone answers the door, they pose as a legitimate company or act as if they have the wrong address. Door-to-door salespeople can be legitimate as long as they have a solicitor’s license, obey the law, and are transparent about who they represent and what they are selling. The Boise Police Department wants to remind residents to be cautious when dealing with solicitors, and to be informed about Boise City solicitor regulations.
All Boise City door-to-door solicitors must be licensed by the City and display their official license when interacting with home owners. Boise City Solicitors Licenses have the individual’s name, picture, and the Boise City logo. If a solicitor knocks on your door, ask to see their license. If they do not have one, have them leave your property and call Non-Emergency Dispatch at (208) 377-6790 immediately. Provide a description of the solicitor, direction of travel, and if possible, vehicle description with license plate number so an officer can respond and conduct an investigation. If you feel any licensed solicitor has been rude or aggressive, get their name, their solicitor license number and call the Boise City Clerk’s Office at (208) 972-8150.
Representatives from non-profit 501c(3) organizations (certain charities), local service groups such as Boy or Girl Scouts, and political groups are not required to have a city license. However, even if a solicitor claims to be a non-profit organization you should still ask for identification to confirm they are an actual representative, and if you feel threatened, call 911 immediately. Solicitors are allowed to engage in their licensed business only between 9:00 a.m. and one hour after sunset unless located in a commercially zoned area.
Example of a Boise City Solicitors License
NOTE: A flyer taped to the door or slid under a doormat where no actual selling has occurred is considered advertising and not soliciting. However, if the person handing out the flyers engages in conversation trying to sell the product or service, it would then change their role into a solicitor and a license would be required.
Crime Prevention Tips:
- If home alone, answer behind a locked screen door or through a locked front door (so the home doesn’t appear empty). If you open the door, consider hollering to a “ghost” spouse or roommate “Don’t worry Harold, I’ve got it!” to alert the solicitor that you may not be alone.
· Do not allow or invite solicitors into your home. If you choose to engage, they can conduct business on your doorstep — they do not need to assess your belongings or use the bathroom where most prescription meds are kept.
· Ask to see a City-issued license to sell – it must be on their person and in plain view. They must be honest about who they are and what they are trying to sell.
· Ask for written information about the company. Let them know that you will be doing research on that company before purchasing any of their products. Don’t feel pressured to buy or sign anything.
· Be cautious about giving out any personal or financial information without being certain of the product and the seller’s intentions.
· Report aggressive or suspicious solicitors to law enforcement immediately by calling Police Dispatch at 911. Provide a description of the solicitor and what direction they were headed.
· Alert other neighbors in the immediate area. If you have a Neighborhood Watch, contact your NW Chairperson who can notify the other residents of this activity. To establish a Neighborhood Watch in your area, contact email@example.com.
· Consider posting a “No Solicitor” sign on private property. “No Solicitors” means No Solicitors!
During the Daytime:
· Keep exterior doors and windows locked, including both bay and side garage doors. Don’t forget to secure your pet door!
· Turn off outside lights (not motion sensors).
· Make the home look occupied by picking up your newspaper and removing flyers from your front door; consider leaving a radio on while gone.
· Keep landscape trimmed to prevent hiding places.
· Don’t leave spare house keys under a flower pot or doormat – give a spare to a trusted neighbor or friend.
Solicitors operate all year and calls regarding non-licensed solicitors are common. Education will help you, your family and your neighborhood stay safe from crime. For more information, please contact the Office of the City Clerk, Boise Licensing at (208) 972-8150 or visit https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/boiseid/latest/boise_id/0-0-0-1588 to review the Boise City Code on Solicitors.