NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Door-to-door solicitors in Davidson County selling any goods, wares, merchandise, or services are required to apply for a solicitation permit with the Metropolitan Clerk’s Office in order to lawfully go through Metro neighborhoods.
"If you're going to do any kind of commercial solicitation, in Davidson County, you've got to go get a permit for commercial solicitation," Sgt. Michael Fisher of the Metro Nashville Police Department said.
According to Fisher, numerous people have complained of solicitors being too aggressive, and police have responded to numerous reports of scams from people soliciting in their neighborhoods.
While a permit means the solicitor is approved by teh city, there are still plenty of other people without permits who solicit, and police suggest when they go to your door to be cautious, and don't feel the need to answer your door.
"Still let them know you're home," Fisher added. "One of the oldest burglary ruses is somebody coming up, knocking on the door, listening, 'Is there a dog in there? Is there any movement inside? Hey, nobody's home,' then they go around back and break out a window or come in through a door."
If someone suspicious goes to your door, police suggest calling their non-emergency number at (615) 862-8600 to report the encounter and to give a good description of the people involved, or even send in a video clip if you have cameras.
"As officers are proceeding over to that area, they can look for them to be out on foot. They can get out, verify or not whether it's legit," Fisher said.
Police also have the ability to run a person's history and see if the could be connected to any other crimes, but in the end, police said it's all about knowing your neighbors.
"Get to know everybody's name, who belongs, who doesn't, and if you live next door to me and you have a problem that happened, your car got broken into, your house did, and I've got a camera system, then I want to help you out. I'm going to go through my footage and see if I caught anything to help your case," Fisher added.
While most solicitors require a permit, there are certain exceptions, including charitable organizations, book sales or other expressive works, and newspaper or magazine subscriptions.
Still, consumer advocates encourage people to do their own research before paying for a service.
Metro also provides the ability for a homeowner to register their property for a "no knock" list that prohibits permitted solicitors from visiting your property for one year.
More information about the rules and regulations surrounding soliciting in Metro Nashville can be found on the County Clerk's website.