The San Diego County Sheriff's Department's North Coastal Station is warning residents to be cautious about solicitors, who could potentially be casing homes for burglaries.
Since Nov. 1, there have been 16 residential burglaries in Rancho Santa Fe and Olivenhain, according to sheriff’s records. Of those incidents, two of the homes were under construction. In Del Mar, there have been two residential burglaries within the same time period. In Encinitas, there were 26 incidents and six within Solana Beach.
While these specific events have not been definitively linked to solicitors, Captain John Maryon is warning residents that they should be wary about outsiders in their neighborhoods.
"Posing as a solicitor is a great way to get into a neighborhood and really go under the radar," Maryon said. "People think they're just selling stuff when, in reality, they could be casing your house."
If contacted by law enforcement, "solicitors" can claim they were selling something, which would only result in a ticket or being told to move on, Maryon said. Soliciting is only allowed with permits from the cities, he added.
He said the department has noticed more solicitors and has been receiving more calls regarding them.
The captain recommends that people answer the door, if they are home, so solicitors become aware that the home is currently occupied. He also said that houses should always look like they are "lived in." Residents, especially those going on vacation, should not allow newspapers and other mail to accumulate on their driveways. The sheriff's department will deploy senior volunteers to check on unoccupied homes and move any mail upon request, Maryon said.
He also said people should install alarms that alert the authorities directly, rather than the alarm companies first then the sheriff's department.