Reporting Maria Medina
ELK GROVE (CBS13) — In Elk Grove, a door-to-door deterrent means one knock could cost you some jail time.
A new law makes it illegal for solicitors to bother homeowners who make it clear they don’t want to be bothered.
Anyone breaking the new law could spend six months behind bars, and pay a fine of up to $1,000 by knocking on the wrong door.
The message may be clear, but that doesn’t seem to stop the knocks at Tony Ritchie’s door.
“At least once a week, there’s someone coming to the door.”
And some of the solicitors not only ignore the signs, but sometimes don’t leave right away when asked.
Tony says a solicitor forced him to slam the door in his face just last week.
“And after I told him no, they said all we need is your debit card. You pay now and we get credits to go to college.”
Now there’s a new law to keep solicitors away from homes in Elk Grove.
“It certainly can be an effective tool,” said Chris Trim with the Elk Grove Police Department.
After community complaints about aggressive solicitors, the city council voted unanimously Wednesday night to give police the power to arrest solicitors who knock on homes with visible “No soliciting” signs.
“And if there is a violation of that, then it’s a misdemeanor arrest.”
The city council also toughened its current law on soliciting by limiting the hours salespeople can go door-to-door to 7 p.m. for the majority of the year instead of 9 p.m.
“There’s a few people in the neighborhood that have been robbed, so answering a door to a stranger—my husband doesn’t like it if I open the door and he’s not here,” said resident Susan Hazard.
Police say some criminals pose as solicitors to case out a home or before a burglary. And many who go door-to-door don’t even have a legal permit to solicit.
Like this man: Police arrested Eric Lopez Wednesday—a man with a warrant out for his arrest. Police say he worked as a door-to-door salesman, but didn’t have a permit to do so.
“If I want your service, I’ll contact you to get your service, and I don’t want you knocking on my door.”
And homeowners hope this stops those knocks on the door during dinnertime, when solicitors tend to work.
The law states the signs need to be visible with lettering at least an inch high. It goes into effect on Aug. 24.