Door-to-door alerts: Two today from Arbor Heights; plus, read the rules

With warmer weather and later light, solicitor reports are picking up – including these two reports from Arbor Heights today, which are followed by information on city rules and what you can do if someone you don’t know comes to your door, soliciting or not:

Most-recent report:

A heads up to the neighborhood. This just happened … around 3 pm. We are near 100th & 37th. A male in his mid-20s, lots of tattoos, looked very dirty, knocked on our door and rang the doorbell numerous times. My fiance was home at the time and eventually answered the door. The guy told him his entire life story, how he was recently out of prison, trying to find work. Tried to sell us a fake magazine subscription and would only accept cash. Fiance told him he had no cash on him. The guy tried to convince my fiance to go an ATM, etc. Told him he couldn’t leave, he was working. The guy got extremely mad and aggressive, but eventually picked up his bags and left. We live down a long private driveway and this is very nerve-wrecking. The guy kept commenting what a good neighborhood this is with all the “rich” houses. I think he is scoping out houses. My fiance filed a police report. The guy is likely still in the neighborhood. If you see him, follow up with police, since he is clearly a suspicious person and likely up to no good!

No further description so we don’t know if it might have been the same person from another report earlier in the afternoon:

A man knocked on my door this afternoon and after I asked twice “who is it?” He said “it’s David” I said, “I don’t know you” and he said “I know you don’t” … I told him that if he did not leave I would call the police. He started to leave and go to our neighbors house- I opened the front door to get a pic of him on my phone. He then turned around and covered his face and head with his hands and clipboard when he saw me trying to get a pic. He was under 30, under 6 feet, medium dark complexion, black short hair, thin build. He was wearing a light colored polo shirt.

We were burglarized last year and one thing the police told us was that burglars sometimes knock on doors during the workday- no answer means they will come back later. Perhaps it was innocent, but hiding his face and high tailing it out of range when he saw me with my phone was something that was a red flag.

We also received a couple recent reports of an “aggressive” would-be solicitor – someone who didn’t want to take “no” for an answer. Breaking news sidetracked us from an intended update then, but now we have the opportunity to remind you about the laws/rules regarding door-to-door solicitors. They were best described in this newsletter sent by Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon in 2013. You can also read the city ordinance – bottom line, in most cases, they are required to have licenses, so the first thing you can do to determine legitimacy, if you choose to engage, is to ask for that.

32 Replies to "Door-to-door alerts: Two today from Arbor Heights; plus, read the rules"

  • enid March 12, 2015 (7:35 pm)

    About a year or so ago, some kind of halfway house opened in the vicinity of 37th & 100th. I began to encounter numerous individuals on the bus, loudly talking about their recent release from prison. They would get off on 100th in Arbor Heights. Since that time, there are frequent reports of theft, burglary, and suspicious persons with reports concentrated in that area. I’ve contacted the block watch, but community corrections officers should be looking more closely at these clusters of criminals in residential neighborhoods.

  • Scary March 12, 2015 (7:41 pm)

    This dude pounded on my door today and he was trying to get into my house. Glad my screen was locked. He was trying to see if anyone was home. AH area.

  • Paul March 12, 2015 (8:27 pm)

    A person knocked on my door in AH today that matches the description of the second person. I told him I was busy and he said he’d come back. I then asked if it was a solicitation and he said yes. I told him no thanks and he left and told me to have a nice day. I’ve seen much more suspicious and rude solicitations so didn’t think much of this particular guy.

    That aside, I’m interested in more info about the halfway house mentioned by Enid. I live on that block but don’t know of any houses near that could fit the description. I have however definitely been solicited many times at this location by recent prison release magazine sellers, so I’m interested to know more. Also, does anyone use “No Solicitation” signs and do they work?

  • Scary March 12, 2015 (8:58 pm)

    Paul,signs do not work I have one and they still come a knocking!

  • Didn't know March 12, 2015 (9:03 pm)

    This is the first time I’ve heard of a halfway house in AH ‘s
    Area. Would like more info!

  • Alki resident March 12, 2015 (9:50 pm)

    I too had a knock on my door around 4pm today. The guy had a clip board with papers and carrying a pen. I couldn’t hear what he said very clearly but when he asked if Ive heard of it I said I wasn’t interested, he looked down to the side and started swaying his pen back and forth and without eye contact he asked ” can I ask why you’re not interested?”. I wasn’t in the mood, just got home from work and was trying to nap, so I just shut my door. He then randomly chose another neighbor to go to, and not directly the next house. Ive been meaning to get “no solicitor” signs up, but will now for sure. Pretty sure it was David. We live around the corner from the people with the first story. I am not aware of any halfway house.

  • Neighbor March 12, 2015 (10:47 pm)

    We use signs accompanied by a large posted definition of solicitor or solicitation.. works most of the time.. 2 large dogs and answering the door from an upper window fixes the rest

  • Bessyj March 13, 2015 (7:04 am)

    Guys really, is saying no straight up so hard?

  • Enid March 13, 2015 (7:29 am)

    I will try to get more info about the location of the halfway house from SPD/Block Watch. I know of one house slightly further west on 100th that has had that type of ‘renter’ for years. If I’m not mistaken, the Sex Offender Registry frequently includes individuals in that area, so there is definitely some kind of housing nearby. There are also numerous transients that have moved into Arbor Heights and are squatting in vacant or for sale houses. This used to be rare; not any more.

  • WSB March 13, 2015 (7:36 am)

    Currently there is one registered sex offender listed as living in Arbor Heights. You can look up your neighborhood anywhere (and choose a 1-mile or further radius) http://www.icrimewatch.net/index.php?AgencyID=54473

  • Arianna March 13, 2015 (8:42 am)

    If you are not expecting someone just don’t answer the door. Taught my kid this and I
    Follow it also. Problem solved.

    • WSB March 13, 2015 (8:45 am)

      Arianna – That’s our basic philosophy but there is one thing that police have warned about: Potential burglars might knock first and, hearing no response, break in. Their advice is: If there’s a knock at the door but you have no intention of answering it, at least make sure there’s audible sound so they know someone is home. Radio, TV, people talking, pretend to be shouting to someone in another room, or even shouting toward the door “Sorry, can’t talk with you.”

  • G. Gallagher March 13, 2015 (8:56 am)

    We installed a speakeasy in our front door. It’s a small hinged door that opens allowing you to speak and see through your front door, without opening it.

  • sam-c March 13, 2015 (9:04 am)

    we have a no solicitor sign up as well. But we always at least acknowledge the person at the door (even if we don’t open it). As WSB mentions, if we just pretend we are not there, a burglar might think it’s ok to try and get in yikes. And more often than not, the person knocking at the door is a neighbor, stopping to say that we left our car lights on, dropping of some hand me downs, giving flyers about a neighborhood activity…. so we always peek out another window to see who is at the door.

  • sb March 13, 2015 (9:15 am)

    There are 10 candidates running for City Council in West Seattle….I expect that there will be door-knocking going on this spring:-)

  • SeattleSuz March 13, 2015 (9:55 am)

    WSB- I put in my AH address and see 12 registered sex offenders in a 2 mile radius!

    • WSB March 13, 2015 (10:24 am)

      I looked for the entirety of WS/WC vicinity and one came up there. Will doublecheck again when I can.

  • Mickymse March 13, 2015 (9:56 am)

    As elections are approaching, and we have so many candidates in the running… it may be helpful to remind folks that political and non-profit educational canvassing is NOT considered solicitation.
    .
    Having canvassed many times over the years, I also find it kind of sad how many people are apparently afraid to open their doors to anyone. What happened to community?
    .
    As a community organizer I also find it incredibly frustrating when people complain about a tax levy, zoning change, neighborhood project, “fill in the blank here” that they would have opposed or liked to comment on and complain about — when myself or others spent time trying to go around a neighborhood educating people about it.
    .
    Don’t assume that everyone knocking on your front door is a shady individual looking to steal your money with fake magazine subscriptions.

  • WSince86 March 13, 2015 (10:20 am)

    Our ‘no soliciting’ sign seems to work well. Of course it could be the large dog that hangs out in the front window, too! One of our neighbors who doesn’t have a dog got some dog toys, a water dish and a big chew bone and leaves them in her yard as a deterrent. Just an idea.

  • ChefJoe March 13, 2015 (10:44 am)

    A $155 residential seller license. Wow. I knew I should have reported that girl scout and her mother to the proper authorities!

  • Charles Bronson March 13, 2015 (12:43 pm)

    @ MickyMse – wake up and take a look around this “neighborhood” – my cars broken into 3 times in last 12 months, numerous assaults at Westwood Village over last 90 days, increasing amount of Sex Offenders being relocated to AH, 4 home burglaries (1 a home invasion) over last 24 months – this is not the place I moved to in 1994. The only people I expect to knock on my door are those I KNOW and those I am expecting via invite. I have NO SOLICITATION signs up. Otherwise, when a knock comes, I am standing on the other side of the door with ample protection,
    a willingness to use it, and no regrets. Wake up.

  • dhg March 13, 2015 (2:02 pm)

    I once had a knock on the door, rainy, late night (9pm)… It was a teenager telling me that the hatch on the back of my car was open. (It was a VW Passat with a manufacturer defect that caused this to happen from time to time). I had about $1,000 worth of equipment in the back at the time. I yelped. grabbed my shoes and went out. The kid was gone before I got back to the door so I never even got to thank him.

  • Alki resident March 13, 2015 (2:33 pm)

    @ Charles Bronson- Thank you, well said. Im glad someones on the same page.

  • HelperMonkey March 13, 2015 (2:36 pm)

    I have a great no soliciting sign that works wonders. In the 6 years I’ve lived in AH (prime solicitor area!) I’ve only had two people come to the door. one gal came by and started her pitch thru the screen door. I said nothing, just looked her dead in the eye and pointed to the sign. When the girl kept talking I asked her very simply if she knew how to read. She said yes and continued her pitch. I pointed again at the sign and just stared her down until she left.

  • Judith S. Schainen March 13, 2015 (5:36 pm)

    Have people considered the use of an alarm system for their houses?

  • m March 13, 2015 (5:49 pm)

    @ WSB – if i’m understanding you correctly, your search indicating only 1 registered sex offender in WS/WC is not accurate. I’m on the City’s email list to receive notifications whenever a registered sex offender moves into a 2-mile radius of my address. There are several within that radius alone.

    • WSB March 13, 2015 (5:53 pm)

      Noted above. Somebody else put their address in and got a bunch. It only showed one for me. We live about a mile north of Arbor Heights so I put the search in for five-mile radius of our address, just tried it again, and still only one. Maybe a glitch. *Edited – I put in an AH address and still only got one!

  • anne March 14, 2015 (10:56 am)

    Highly recommend a No Solicitation sign, When I notice a solicitor out my window going door to door on my street, they skip my house, Junction area.

  • Jim P. March 14, 2015 (1:29 pm)

    “Having canvassed many times over the years, I also find it kind of sad how many people are apparently afraid to open their doors to anyone.”

    This presumption that you have a right to disturb me (for any version of “me”) without invitation is one reason people do not wish to answer their door. It isn’t only fear, it’s simply many of us have things we are doing that we prefer doing rather than to take time to deal with whatever it is *you* think is more important.

    You are the two-legged version of a telephone solicitor: Unwanted and unwelcome however much you think your self-declared rights trump other people’s.

    Whatever reasons you may offer for your “right” to enter my property uninvited to interrupt my personal life, they are *your* reasons, not mine. If I wanted to hear from you, you’d know.

  • anonyme March 15, 2015 (8:17 am)

    WSB, I put in an AH address and got 6-7. Not sure what’s going on.

    Jim P.: Right on.

  • Rebecca March 15, 2015 (3:56 pm)

    We get tons of door to door solicitors in Roxhill. Usually I dont answer but after reading some comments above I will start to respond thru the closed door! A few weeks back at nearly 8:30pm, in total darkness we had a knock at our door. My husband was home at the time and did ask thru the door while we sat there astonished to have such a late knock. The stranger replied that he was from some “mission” the only word I clearly heard. My husband told him we weren’t interested and that it was awfully late to be knocking on doors and he went away without a word. But now I wonder if it wasn’t really some one canvassing for other purposes.scary.

Sorry, comment time is over.