A law has been proposed in Washington state town Port Townsend City in regards to solicitors of door-to-door services needing a background check and license to do business. The area recently has experienced burglaries resulting from supposed door-to-door servicemen offering tree cutting to set up a break-in. According to the article, solicitors would need to carry photo identification – and present it when asked for it – and need to obey “no soliciting” signs. Failure to do a background check and carry a license and photo identification card could result in a $1,000 fine and 90 days of jail time. Although the law has only been proposed and is not in effect yet, the individuals or groups exempt from it include political campaigning, farmers with produce, seasonal services, and community-based non-profits like the Girl Scouts.
As with background checks for various employees, those who work with the public to some extent should always submit to a background check. Although background checks for those that work with the public are often for those in supervisory or teaching positions or in a life-saving or law enforcement position, those who interact with the public who aren’t being supervised, such as solicitors, should have some sort of identification on them to show their authenticity.
Door-to-door workers may be salesmen, religious workers promoting their religion, or those going around the neighborhood to ask if they want their lawn mowed or snow shoveled, and, as this is an easy way to get someone to open his or her door, a door to door service is an easy way to get into someone’s house. Although many door-to-door workers may be honest, the work method is one that is easily copied. To reduce individuals pretending to be door-to-door workers, screening them out with a background check is one solution and, to the public, presenting an ID to show their authenticity is another.