Solicitors 'spring' into action throughout South Hills
There's a knock at the front door.
It's a young woman trying to convince you of the benefits that you possibly could receive from changing your energy service provider, or a man, clipboard in hand, offering roof repairs after the latest storm.
Then there are the politicians coming by to meet the residents of the community where they're running and groups trying to raise money for their causes.
South Hills residents and local officials alike agree that with the warmer temperatures, there has been an increase in solicitors and canvassers in the area.
Along with that comes the calls to the local police with worries about the stranger walking down the street or approaching a house.
“It's good the residents are looking out for each other,” Pleasant Hills police Chief Edward Cunningham said.
Local municipalities have rules in place for solicitation — requiring those going door to door to carry identification materials and set hours for when canvassers and solicitors are allowed to knock on doors. Many South Hills communities have lists of homes where the residents have requested not to be bothered by a solicitor.
In Baldwin Borough, anyone planning to solicit is required to get a permit from the police before going door to door, police Chief Michael Scott said. The only people exempt from this are those representing nonprofit, political or religious groups, which are protected by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows them to canvass any area.
Before a permit is provided, a criminal-record check is done on the people who want to knock on doors in the municipality.
“Anybody that has anything more than a DUI, I don't approve,” Scott said. “Sometimes, a company will come in with 30 people, and I'll reject two or three of them.”
To get a solicitation permit in Baldwin, a resident pays $15 a week, $50 a month or $75 for three months. A nonresident pays $10 per person per day.
Pleasant Hills, Brentwood and Whitehall all have similar structures. Time restrictions also are set.
“Everybody's ordinance is different,” Whitehall police Chief Donald Dolfi said.
Whitehall Borough outlines different time restrictions, based on who is going door to door.
For instance, canvassers — those representing nonprofits, religious groups and the like, that are protected by a the Supreme Court decision — can go door to door seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Dolfi said. Peddlers, such as those selling encyclopedias, have a time frame of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Those groups taking surveys and the like have from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
In Baldwin Borough, solicitors are allowed to go door to door from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Residents who do not want to have solicitors coming to their front door — at least the ones who are required to get a borough permit — can sign up for a list at their borough offices or police departments in Baldwin Borough, Pleasant Hills, Brentwood and Whitehall.
Pleasant Hills provides residents who sign up for the “no-solicitation” list with stickers to place on their front door, Cunningham said.
But the only way to be certain that a solicitor or canvasser will not come to one's door is to post a “no trespassing” sign on the property, Dolfi said.
Still, if a resident sees a person who looks out of place, the best thing to do is to call the police, local chiefs say.
“If you glance out and you see something and it causes you to look back — maybe that's worth a call to the police to have it checked out,” Dolfi said.
Baldwin Borough received 13 calls for complaints regarding solicitors so far this year.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Female mascot makes Baldwin Highlander history
- New law requires Baldwin Borough residents to get permits for large containers
- Brentwood considers leasing newly built municipal center
- South Hills talent at center stage for ‘Chorus Line’ performance
- Baldwin High School latest stop on High School Nation tour
- Young musical writer’s work to be performed at J.E. Harrison Middle School
- Whitehall considers reversing alcohol rules
- New food services director hired in Brentwood
- Baldwin UP planning flea market, dinner
- Plenty of treats for Halloween in South Hills
- Brentwood Stadium to house first home game of season