How the revised soliciation ordinance will make you safer

799602_f52011The College Station City Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve changes to the city’s current solicitation ordinance and to address aggressive solicitation.

During his council presentation, Assistant Police Chief Billy Couch noted increases each year in the number of police calls related to aggressive solicitation. This steady increase, combined with concerns from our citizens, prompted the need for tougher restrictions on solicitation. We believe the changes will help protect citizens from solicitors who use aggressive tactics in neighborhoods and in public places.

Here’s the PowerPoint presented to the council:


Highlights of the revised ordinance

The primary purpose of this ordinance obviously is to ensure our citizens’ health, safety and welfare. That will be accomplished by:

  • Prohibiting door-to-door home solicitation during times when such activity is most intrusive and disruptive to your privacy and the security of your home.
  • Regulating the manner in which door-to-door solicitation activity may occur to protect you from aggressive and intimidating practices.
  • Requiring home solicitors to register with the City of College Station to obtain and conspicuously display city-issued identification badges while soliciting to minimize deceptive practices and fraud, and to aid law enforcement in crime detection.

CSPD to be more involved, exceptions defined

The permitting process for solicitation will transition from our Fiscal Services Department to the College Station Police Department, which will improve the way we conduct background checks on each applicant. Those with criminal histories will be denied permits. The cost to obtain a 30-day permit will also increase from $25 to $50 per organization.

In addition, there will now be a maximum fine of $500 if companies are caught violating the ordinance. Exceptions are made for political campaigning and charitable, religious and education purposes. These groups will still be allowed to go door-to-door, but must obtain a permit like other organizations, although the fee will be waived. The ordinance also covers aggressive solicitation within 25 feet of public places such banks, ATMs, gas stations, crosswalks, entrancesand exits to restaurants, and on buses and at bus stops.

More changes

It’s unlawful for anyone 14 years of age or older to solicit, unrequested, an occupant of residential premises:

  • Without first registering and obtaining an identification badge issued by the city.
  • Except between the hours of 9 a.m. and a half-hour after sunset.
  • On any federal holiday.
  • If the residence conspicuously displays at or near its primary entrance a legible sign bearing any of these words: NO TRESPASSING/NO PEDDLERS/NO ADVERTISEMENTS/NO SOLICITATION/NO HANDBILLS.

Still more changes

  • Solicitation can only occur at the primary entrance to your residence.
  • Solicitors cannot go to back doors or windows of a residence to determine if anyone is in your residence.
  • It is unlawful for the registrant to allow any other person to use or wear their city-issued identification badge.

Our outreach will continue

Police personnel plan to visit with neighborhood and HOA representatives in the next few weeks to talk more in-depth about changes to the solicitation ordinance. With these tighter regulations, we believe it will help keep you safer and promote sound solicitation practices in our city.

Click here for the workshop meeting agenda containing the entire sections that changed within the ordinance.

Barbara Moore
Barbara Moore | Neighborhood Services Coordinator

 

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