When someone knocks at your door, acknowledge you are home. Talk through the door without opening it. If you don't answer, and it happens to be a criminal type, they may attempt to break into your home.
You are not obligated to open the door to anyone. Identification should always be verified before opening the door. A wide angle door viewer is an absolute must if visibility of callers is not possible. Service representatives should have appointments and not just "show up" at your door.
Do not rely on a door chain for security. Partially opening a door equipped with a door chain is a practice that must be discourage. The door is not secured. A door chain cannot withstand physical force.
Suggestion: Take a good look at their face, clothing, any distinguishing features, direction of travel, another person, a vehicle, etc. This may be useful if you call the police for help.
If the person leaves quickly, it is considered very suspicious and it would be best to call the police department immediately to report it. Call 9-1-1 or 650-329-2413.
If it is a solicitor, they must have a permit displaying the City of Palo Alto seal issued by our police department in their possession (click here to see a sample permit). There are two types:
For questions about solicitation permits, call Code Enforcement Officer Heather Johnson at 650-329-2130 during normal business hours.
Look at the permit through your window or wide-angle door viewer. Make sure the dates are current. Possession of a permit does not mean that we endorse them. The Palo Alto Police Department does not solicit door-to-door for funds or support.
When it comes to making the call to the Police Department, when in doubt, just call. It is better to pass the information on. In the big picture, it may be the very piece of information we need to stop an individual and it may possibly result in an arrest.