Just back from a meeting tonight involving neighbors banding together to fight crime – not a regularly scheduled meeting, but one called by the Fairmount Springs neighborhood, and held at West Seattle Church of the Nazarene (42nd/Juneau). We’ll publish a separate story about crimefighting tips and questions, including answers by Block Watch leaders as well as Community Police Team Officer Ken Mazzuca, but first a short story with a separate topic that came up – always a hot topic here: Door-to-door solicitors. When a meeting attendee asked, “So what’s legal?” deputy city attorney Beth Gappert, who is liaison to the Southwest Precinct and therefore based here in West Seattle, jumped up.
“Residential selling IS legal,” she began, but then went on to very clearly explain the rules that we’ve linked to here, time and time again, though without quite as vivid an explanation. “The company that’s selling is required to have a license. Each employee must have a residential agent’s license. It must be displayed prominently on their clothing. And each employee must have a copy of the company’s business license.”
Sounds easy enough, but Gappert went on to say that she’s checked the records and “only about half a dozen businesses have residential sellers’ licenses in the city – so the vast majority of sellers do NOT have licenses.” That means they’re operating illegally – as is the case if a solicitor of any kind knocks on a door despite a “no soliciting” sign – and, she added, “It is illegal if you ask them to leave and they refuse.” If ANY of those circumstances happen, Gappert stressed – with Officer Mazzuca at her side – “I highly encourage people to call the police over this issue. We know this precinct is going crazy over solicitors. I see the reports. I read about it on (WSB). … Make a report, be willing to testify, so we can prosecute. … Officers in this area are ready to go after them.”
Still got questions/concerns? Come to tomorrow night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting — Gappert is almost always there, as are CPT officers and leaders — 7 pm Tuesday, Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster). Meantime, watch for our second story from the meeting, with advice from the police, and neighbor-to-neighbor, on fighting and deterring the crimes we hear about the most these days – burglaries and car prowls.