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July 2, 2015 (La Mesa) – There have been reports of a young man with dark hair observed going through people’s mailboxes as he goes door to door in La Mesa.  He then mentions neighbor’s names, supposedly to sell educational material.

In response, Claudia Ortega of the La Mesa Police Department provided a refresher on solicitors in La Mesa and how to stay safe:

The La Mesa Police Department would like all residents to be vigilant about reporting solicitors going door-to-door in La Mesa who do not comply with the City’s Municipal Code or appear suspicious. Solicitors are required to possess and carry a City of La Mesa issued Solicitor’s License. Do not hesitate to contact the Police if you are suspicious of someone in your neighborhood who is soliciting. Especially, if they are being pushy or aggressive; be sure to call the Police Department’s 24- hour non –emergency number 619-667-1400. 

Make it known that you and your neighbors are watching. Sometimes that alone will deter those who may have ulterior motives for being in the neighborhood.

Call the Police Department at (619) 667-1400 to report anyone going door-to-door who: 

  • Does not have a Solicitor’s License, with their picture, issued from the City of La Mesa. 
  • Claim to be selling a product or raising money to benefit a program or charity, but have limited supplies or information on the product or program. If they seem surprised you answered the door and have a story that does not seem to make sense. (This can either be a scam or someone casing the area seeing who is home and who is not). 
  • Pressure you to “act now” or to let them in the house. 
  • Claim to be from a utility company, the City of La Mesa, or other well-known organization requesting to be admitted into the house to inspect or check something, or request you to accompany them outside to “help” them inspect something. San Diego County utility companies and City of La Mesa DO NOT make unexpected visits without prior communication with the resident. When on location employees WILL have agency issued, picture ID and WILL wait for you to verify their identity with the company. 

A resident should ask to see the solicitor’s license if the resident intends to conduct business with them. A solicitor’s license is not an endorsement of the company as reputable, but they took the time to conduct business within the confines of the Municipal Code.

If a company is legitimate they will gladly show you their paperwork. If a solicitor or unexpected vistor comes by your home and late hours of the night, please be cautious. I stress that there is NO reason to open your door to challenge someone for their Solicitors License or ID. Do not jeopardize your safety by opening your door. Do yell through the door that you are not interested and at the same time you are telling them that someone is home. Try to get a description and direction of travel. There have been incidents where residents reported hearing the doorbell ring but chose not to answer, and then found the “solicitor” walking into their backyard and trying to open a back window or door. 

It is important to call right away and not to hesitate. The more information you can provide to the call taker the better.

La Mesa Municipal Cope Chapter 6.28 on Peddlers and Solicitors can be viewed here.


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