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Home Government Stranger Danger or Selling Snickers? Glen Oaks Wants To Go on Solicitor...

Stranger Danger or Selling Snickers? Glen Oaks Wants To Go on Solicitor Diet

Glen Oaks residents are sick and tired and are not going to take it any more. Fresh off the Superbowl robberies, Glen Oaks residents have complained to the city about solicitors ringing their doorbells after dark. Rye City seems to be telling residents its hands are tied.

What is your experience with solicitors? Harmless, harmful or somewhere in between? Leave a comment below with your experience.

Here are some of the exchanges between residents and Rye City:

From: Mitch
Sent: Wed Apr 07 22:11:07 2010
Subject: Solicitors on Walker Ave

Hello Frank [Culross, Rye City Manager] and The City of Rye,
Solicitors rang our bell at 845PM tonight waking up my 2 year old son and our 6 year old daughter. After I answered the door and told the young man he cannot be ringing bells after dark, he copped me an attitude and tried to get his pitch in. I let him listen to the screams of a toddler woken up by his needless solicitation. I mentioned our block is under watch after we were burglarized, (my house and 3 others) on Superbowl Sunday. Their Astro Van sat on our cul de sac with at least 4 occupants inside with headlights on as I called 911 when they would not leave. The driver yelled out 'they know we are here' and would not leave the block, taunting me.

This is a serious problem. Please let us know what we need to do to make our neighborhood feel safe. We do not feel safe and this adds to our anxiety.

Do you know the backgrounds of these individuals? Who do they represent?

From: "Culross  Frank J."
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2010 20:20:59
Subject: RE: Solicitors

Dear Ms. ______,

I have asked the Corporation Counsel to carefully review current case law and advise the City Council regarding what means of regulation is possible for not-for-profit solicitors. We have been informed that much of our current law is unenforceable and the solicitors are aware of it.

Perhaps, the best result would be if Rye residents did not respond to the solicitors.

My office does not issue permits. The City Clerk says that the last permit issued (for 1 day) was last July. I don't know what the Police were referring to last night. Apparently, the group in question faxes/emails a list of people they intend to use for solicitation. To my knowledge, no one gave permission. I am told that they intend to return this evening.

Enforcement of no solicitor signs is a civil matter but I am informed that they are generally respected.

I truly understand your concerns and hope that the Corporation Counsel can devise a legal means of restricting this activity especially after dark.

Frank J Culross

From: Nina
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 8:13 AM
Subject: Solicitors

Hello Frank and City of Rye,

I know you have heard from many of my neighbors regarding the solicitors from Wednesday night.

When the doorbell rings after dark at 8:30 PM, it  really scares me.  My husband was not home, and I was home, pregnant, tired, and with three sleeping children.  I felt very vulnerable when this stranger was on my doorstep, inches away from being inside my house.  It is threatening and intrusive to have strangers wandering around my street and neighborhood.What are they doing??? Selling chocolate bars??  Really??  Scoping out houses to rob??  Our neighborhood has had many recent break-ins and statistics have shown that most robbers have scoped out homes/knocked on doors prior to performing a robbery.  If this is the case, why isn't Rye doing more to protect its citizens?

I would like you to elaborate on some of your comments to my neighbor Mitch…

1) You can post a no solicitor sign on your property.

Question: If we do, then does this mean a solicitor would be in violation of the law and subject to arrest or fine?

2) The City Clerk issues non-discretionary permits. We cannot deny.

Question: Why???  Why is the City non-discretionary regarding strangers trolling around their city at the expense of protecting the very-high-tax-paying Rye citizens?  Why is soliciting an item the City wishes to be so casual about?  Please quote me the section of the law which covers non-discretionary permits and the inability to deny them.  Also, if you cannot deny them, then why don't you at least restrict them?
Why not charge an extremely high fee for permits?  What do other towns do to limit or prohibit them?

3) No permits have been issued recently. Based on case law, many solicitors do not seek permits even though we can not deny.

This statement actually alarms me the most.  The fact that no permits have been issued recently means that the solicitors of Weds night had none. When I (and neighbors) notified the police about the solicitors the police said "we know, they have permits, they are legal, there is nothing we can do".  Does your office advise the police dept of approved permits?  Or do the police just assume permits are issued?

Soliciting houses in a door-to-door manner seems like such an out-dated function.  Can't the City steer the solicitors towards setting up a table in a public town parking lot on a weekday during daylight?

I would really appreciate you taking the time to answer all my questions and help me understand this whole issue on permits.

Thank you,


  1. To all Glen Oak Residents,

    Let me get this straight…..
    You live in a neighborhood that his been repeatedly hit with burglaries and the RPD tells you there is nothing they can do?

    WHAT A JOKE!!!

    Next time they come tell the RPD TO BRING YOU A COPY OF THE PERMIT!

    Call the cops and tell them your home alone & there is someone walking around your yard w/a flash light, then they have to come!

    There are no supervisors on at night other than Sargents, don’t except this, go over their heads!!!

    Since when is it okay for strangers to harass residents in the middle of the night???

    Nice community policing,what a crock!!!

  2. We’d like to think the police can protect us 100% of the time, but sadly, as our Glen Oaks neighbors have found out, this is not the case – they can’t be everywhere all the time.
    These solicitors are getting more and more brazen as they go through the neigborhoods peddling junk (or more likely casing out which homes to break into, and where to do it). It’s time to fight back, without relying solely on the police.
    If there’s no law against them “soliciting”, I’m sure there’s no law against residents giving a little mis-direction to them, or being aggressive back at them, in a creative and effective fashion. Here’s some ideas to consider:

    – Tell him he’s trespassing, and to get off your property immediately. If he doesn’t, call the cops immediately – at that point, he’s trespassing on private property.
    -Go up to the vehicle they came in, and make a very public display of writing down the license plate. Check the plate number against the registration on the windshield. If they don’t match, call the police and let them know that either the car or the license plates are stolen.
    -Take close-up pictures of the solicitor, the driver, the vehicle, the license plate, the other occupants. Ask for ID from each of them.
    – Call your neighbors and let them know they’re in the neighborhood – forewarned is forearmed.
    -Give a “friendly” warning and tell the solicitor that the last salesman who came through the neighborhood got beaten up by angry neighbors, and tell him that he could end up in the hospital if he’s not careful.
    -Cough in his face and tell him you think you may have tuberculosis.
    -Answer the door holding a very large chef’s knife, and try to look as angry as possible. If you don’t have a large chef’s knife, try an axe or a machete.
    -Tell him you don’t have time to talk to him because you’re about to go out looking for your very large and ferocious pit bull, which just escaped into the neighborhood.
    – Practice your Russian on him, even if you don’t speak it.
    – Ask him if he’s accepted Jesus Christ as his personal saviour. If he responds in the affirmative, tell him you worship the Devil, and are looking for someone to be willing to partake in a human sacrifice.
    – Tell him you work in a bank, and have a great introductory mortgage offer you’d like to discuss with him.
    – Ask him if he wants a better-paying job selling drugs door to door, then give him some tick-tacks.


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