Oakwood says solicitation law protects residents

Two girls warned by law enforcement after soliciting yard work at a home on Triangle Avenue sparked some residents’ concerns for an ordinance prohibiting door-to-door solicitation without a permit.

“I don’t see anything wrong with them coming out and helping out,” said Douglas Windle, who has lived on Triangle Avenue for around three years. “They’re little entrepreneurs and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Oakwood Law Director Rob Jacques said the city has adopted a “fairly comprehensive door-to-door solicitation ordinance”, which requires solicitors to pay $1 to register for a permit at the city’s offices.

Jacques said children participating in school-related fundraisers or youth group sales are exempt from the ordinance.

“We’ve had a number of incidents in the city where people are going door-to-door for illegitimate reasons,” Jacques told the Dayton Daily News.

Christopher Knox, 37, was arrested in February 2013 after police said he was accused of committing a rash of 21 home burglaries in Oakwood and Kettering. During the burglaries prosecutors said Knox stole thousands of dollars of copper pipes and tubing.

Jacques said the city has dealt with people who disguise themselves by carrying a rake, lawn mower or snow blower as a prop to case homes for criminal activity.

“It gets very difficult to distinguish between adults and minors,” the law director said. “We simply regulate the commercial activity all together.”

Leigh Ann Fulford has lived in Oakwood for 27 years and understands why law enforcement has to take complaints of solicitation seriously.

“There are rules that are in place in every city and kids need to learn to follow them,” Fulford told the newspaper. “Maybe we are a little bit more protective, but maybe there’s a reason for it.”

Other cities in the Miami Valley have adopted similar ordinances to the one in Oakwood.

Jennifer Wilder, assistant to Centerville City Manager Greg Horn, said Centerville leaders adopted a new ordinance on May 19.

Centerville’s ordinance was created to protect citizens from the numerous door-to-door solicitors following the hail storm in May 2011 that damaged many homes in the region, Wilder said.

In Centerville, solicitors are required to pay a $5 fee to receive a permit for the right to solicit, however school and youth group fundraisers are exempt from the law.

Englewood leaders adopted a stricter ordinance, which requires all solicitors, including those involved with youth groups and school sponsored fundraisers, to register for a permit with the city.

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