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Cinnaminson Police Respond to Solicitation Reports

If someone knocks on your door without a permit, call the police department.

Cinnaminson Police advised residents Friday about the rules regarding door-to-door solicitation. Credit: Patch file photo
Cinnaminson Police advised residents Friday about the rules regarding door-to-door solicitation. Credit: Patch file photo

Responding to recent inquiries regarding door-to-door solicitation, Cinnaminson Police advised residents Friday that all solicitors must have a permit.

Per township ordinance, anyone wishing to solicit must apply through the police department and submit to a background check. If a permit is issued, it must be picked up and returned to the police department every day, police noted.

Each authorized solicitor will also be issued a photo identification, which must be visible at all times, police said.

Solicitation is only permitted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

If a solicitor comes to your door without a proper permit/photo ID, contact Cinnaminson Police at 856-829-6666 to report them. Harassment of residents will not be tolerated, police stressed.
John January 11, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Great, this is the first time I have heard that there is a permit needed for people coming to the doors of residents....Just how many people know this, I sure did not know it....
Jim Capobianco January 11, 2014 at 06:41 PM
Not sure how we differentiate a valid ID from a fake. Seems pretty simple for someone to make a fake ID with their photo and a name like John Smith.
Jenet January 12, 2014 at 09:48 AM
It sounds as though the police department issues the ID. And since we've never seen one, it probably wouldn't be easy to spot a fake. But when presented with a permit, it's probably valid. However, in the time they are digging for the "permit" to show you, they could just barrel into your home.
Lori B Wood January 14, 2014 at 08:38 PM
Wouldn't an idea of what we are looking for be helpful?? I have kids knocking on my door selling magazines with clip on ID's...Is this it? Is it a lantern? a little help here?
JustALocalGuy January 16, 2014 at 10:10 PM
Why would anybody answer their door for an uninvited stranger, anyway? That's just a dumb idea all around.
John January 26, 2014 at 09:36 PM
Maybe they do not have an opening in there door to see who is knocking....Just a thought Just a local guy....I see religious people walking around this town all the time with no ID'S...
JustALocalGuy January 26, 2014 at 09:42 PM
Well let this be a lesson to all, then. I thought it was common sense not to open your door if you don't know who's on the other side. I do have mixed feelings about requiring any sort of "permit" to visit people's houses though. It strikes me as an unnecessary restriction and an overreach by government. We all have the freedom to speak. We all have the freedom to associate with whomever we please, and conversely, NOT to associate with whomever we please. We all have the freedom to travel. Therefore, it stands to reason that nobody can tell us where we may travel or to whom we may speak. Property owners are free to refuse any visitor they don't want. What's the point of the permit? We need background checks to walk around now?
AnoninCinna January 27, 2014 at 07:48 AM
An "overreach by government"? I think you are taking that a bit far. These people are going onto private properties by soliciting. The least we can require is that they provide proper credentials. Others who go onto private property - i.e. mail carriers, delivery drivers, trick-or-treaters, etc. have an understood permission from the homeowner. A person soliciting for a siding company, a church, a politician, etc. may not have that understood permission. I think requiring a permit is a good compromise. I have a "No Solicitors" sticker on my door, and still have had people knock trying to sell me things. I think the permits are at least a good start.
JustALocalGuy January 27, 2014 at 08:10 AM
That permit will do just as much as your "no solicitors" sign to stop people from coming to your door. I don't like uninvited visitors any more than you, but it's well understood that anyone may visit your front door, knock/ring, wait for you to answer, and then either come in or be asked to leave. There's an interesting supreme court case that explains this. Florida v Jardines if you're interested. -- The relevant part of the decision: -- We have accordingly recognized that “the knocker on the front door is treated as an invitation or license to attempt an entry, justifying ingress to the home by solicitors, hawkers and peddlers of all kinds.” Breard v. Alexandria, 341 U. S. 622, 626 (1951). This implicit license typically permits the visitor to approach the home by the front path, knock promptly, wait briefly to be received, and then (absent invitation to linger longer) leave. Complying with the terms of that traditional invitation does not require fine-grained legal knowledge; it is generally managed without incident by the Nation’s Girl Scouts and trick-or-treaters.
John January 27, 2014 at 10:38 AM
Wow we have a debate, and when someone hits U in the head and U defend yourself do not kill him, just damage him so he can sue your rear ok....enjoy the arguments....
JustALocalGuy January 27, 2014 at 02:58 PM
It's an interesting discussion. I haven't heard anyone provide a principled reason for requiring a permit to walk door-to-door. Bottom line, the supreme court recognizes that people have 'an implicit license' to travel to your door for the purpose of knocking on it or ringing the bell.
AnoninCinna January 27, 2014 at 05:50 PM
In the case of solicitors, what is the harm in requiring a permit? Without a permit, anyone can knock on your door at any time and pretend to be selling something. In other words, these people may be acting under the guise of "an implicit license" while actually be carrying out fraudulent activity. The permit may be one way of vetting any one who is soliciting door-to-door, and I would welcome any efforts on the part of the township to ensure that those that are in our neigborhoods are legit. I wonder if any solicitor has ever been shot by a homeowner for trespassing if they are unwanted? It is a legitimate concern.
JustALocalGuy January 27, 2014 at 06:47 PM
The harm is to basic liberty, every time you grant the government the ability to do dumb things like this. Even with a permit, there is no guarantee that the person soliciting is not committing some fraud. It's every person's responsibility to be smart about whom they decide to interact with or do business with. It is not the government's responsibility to decide for us who may or may not visit our neighborhoods. Even with a permit system, nothing is stopping anyone from knocking on your door at any time and committing fraud or otherwise bothering you. As someone else also pointed out, how would someone in the community identify a legitimate permit? Why should anyone have to know how? I have no idea if anyone's shot an unwelcome solicitor. That would be pretty stupid. But it's not really relevant to the discussion anyway, since it's nothing more than the worst kind of absurd fear-mongering.
Will Smith January 27, 2014 at 08:39 PM
Like it or not, towns have authority to license and regulate door-to-door solicitors and they can impose a reasonable license fee. They justify it by claiming it supports public health and safety. Where they have to be careful is when those solicitations are of a religious nature. Then it can become a freedom of speech problem.
AnoninCinna January 28, 2014 at 07:35 AM
Well if you want to go down the "basic liberty" road (door-to-door soliciting does not qualify as a "basic liberty", in my opinion), what about the liberty of the homeowner to have the township take reasonable precautions to protect its citizens? Some people may not be able to discern who is legitimate and who is a scammer. I think requiring a permit is a good compromise as opposed to banning solicitors altogether (which I would be fine with as well). And as far as shooting an unwelcome solicitor, it most certainly is relevant. I am sure it has happened, and in that case, who is liable, the solicitor or the homeowner? Would the solicitor be considered a trespasser? Would the homeowner claim that he/she was just protecting their home? I don't know...it is a complicated issue. But luckily we apparently do have some regulation of solicitors here in Cinnaminson, which I am thankful for.
JustALocalGuy January 28, 2014 at 08:30 AM
I already explained that going door-to-door is a basic liberty. Freedom to travel, Freedom to speak, and Freedom to associate are all enshrined in the constitution. I explained that the SCOTUS agrees that there is an "implicit license" to visit your door. They even use the Girl Scouts as an example of how this right is used. So I've explained why there should not be a permit for solicitors, from a principled standpoint. You on the other hand, just keep reiterating your opinion without any principled justification for it. As far as the shooting scenario, if you insist on bringing that into the debate, trespassing is not a crime that merits a lethal response, as it is not a felony and it endangers no one. If you think any homeowner in NJ would have a valid claim that they were protecting their home, you're obviously not living in the same state as I am. This place is obscenely anti-gun, and you only barely have the right to shoot someone who enters your home unlawfully. So it's obvious that the shooter would be most likely guilty of murder. Basically, all you've said is that you enjoy having government regulation of activities that harm no one, but annoy you.
JustALocalGuy January 28, 2014 at 09:24 AM
That is an excellent piece. I'll have to read it in more detail. Generally though, from my quick skim, it appears that at a minimum, the Cinnaminson ordinance may be defective due to the time restriction it places.
John January 28, 2014 at 10:33 AM
I will enjoy this discussion but let me tell U I have an old door and I can see outside and look at the person there and if he tries to get in I have a wooden baseball bat thats going to used on his head, so beware....
AnoninCinna January 28, 2014 at 05:32 PM
I expect, not just "enjoy" any measures the government takes to ensure my safety. If that involves regulating door-to-door solicitors by requiring a permit, then so be it. Another interesting article. The conflict between the right to "free speech" (i.e. solicitation) and the right to privacy seems to be a long embattled one. So there is no clear-cut answer in this debate. http://sogpubs.unc.edu//electronicversions/pdfs/lglb78.pdf?
AnoninCinna January 28, 2014 at 05:32 PM
I expect, not just "enjoy" any measures the government takes to ensure my safety. If that involves regulating door-to-door solicitors by requiring a permit, then so be it. Another interesting article. The conflict between the right to "free speech" (i.e. solicitation) and the right to privacy seems to be a long embattled one. So there is no clear-cut answer in this debate. http://sogpubs.unc.edu//electronicversions/pdfs/lglb78.pdf?
AnoninCinna January 28, 2014 at 05:35 PM
In the introduction it references that ordinances enacted by towns fall under "public health, safety, and welfare concerns". That seems reasonable to me, and what our town ordinance seems to fall under. http://www.mrsc.org/subjects/legal/nuisances/peddlers.aspx
JustALocalGuy January 28, 2014 at 06:30 PM
Now THIS is a great discussion. We're exchanging some interesting ideas here. I come down more firmly on the side of liberty, accepting that occasionally I may be annoyed by an uninvited visitor. My sense is that it is better for society generally, to remain more open and more free. The more we begin to unquestioningly accept the myriad intrusions of government into ordinary activities, the less free we become, generally.
Ruth Mays January 29, 2014 at 01:53 PM
It would seem that the Cinnaminson ordinance fails the constitutionality test in two ways- it unduly restricts the hours, and by virtue of requiring a background check, which is costly, places an undue burden on commerce. In fact, ordinances like this one, and even less restrictive than ours have been struck down by courts, including the US Supreme court

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