Town of Hempstead Residents Get Their Own ‘Do Not Knock’ Registry
Sometimes that unexpected knock at the door can feel like that phone call during dinner. The Town of Hempstead’s “Do Not Knock” registry hopes to make these intrusions a thing of the past.
“In this day and age, not knowing who’s coming to your door is very disconcerting,” says Jenna Stack, creator of the “Do Not Knock” petition on Change.org.
For Stack, this started one day when she was home with a sick child. “Three people had come to my door that day, and my toddler was sick, and every time he would fall asleep somebody would knock on the door,” she said. “The dog would start barking. By the time I sat down that night, I was absolutely exhausted.”
Stack previously lived in the town of Oyster Bay, which already had a similar policy, so she started a petition to get one in Hempstead.
”Before I knew it, it just really kind of took off on its own,” Stack said.
“The policy has been in place a number of years,” says Oyster Bay Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr. “And that was based on complaints from residents of solicitors coming door to door and disrupting the quality of life in Oyster Bay.”
Now that the Town of Hempstead has a similar registry, more citizens of Nassau County will be able to experience that same level of comfort, explained Hempstead Town Councilman, Gary Hudes.
“People will have a greater sense of decent life and privacy in their own home,” Hudes said. “It will greatly reduce the sense of being bothered by unwanted solicitors at their doors.”
The registry also helps to keep residents safe. Altadonna says that background checks are done on the solicitors and their companies. Solicitors are also required to carry identification. If there is a complaint from a resident, the town verifies that the solicitor is registered. If not, their information is passed on to the police.
It is not yet clear, however, if that responsibility will fall to Nassau or Hempstead PD.
Those who support the registry claim that it in no way affects anyone who is trying to make a living by selling door to door.
“I think its ridiculous,” Hudes said of this concern. “I’m a small-business owner myself. I don’t knock on people’s doors to do advertising. You put your message out there. People, if they need your product, they’ll respond.”
Political free speech and organizations like the Girl Scouts of America aren’t affected by this registry.
“Girl Scouts is a not for profit and this resolution exempts not for profits from the requirements of the ‘Do Not Knock’ program,” said Donna Rivera-Downey, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Girl Scouts of Nassau. “We’ve reviewed the legislation, we’ve spoken to some of the officials at the town, and we’ve verified that if a girl and her parents are out visiting their neighbors and soliciting for Girl Scout cookie sales between the hours of 9am and 9pm, there’s no problem with that.”
The only caveat is that the Girl Scouts (and any other non-profit) must provide the town with information on when and where they will be canvassing. The Town Clerk then sends this information to the local police so they can respond to any concerns that residents might have.
All in all, homeowners in the town of Hempstead are pleased with the new registry.
“It is a good idea so that while you’re at home you’re not annoyed by solicitors,” said Perry Criscitelli, a lawyer in Floral Park. “It also keeps people with evil motives from ringing your doorbell and determining that you’re not home”
“I don’t like them [solicitors] knocking at my door,” said Hempstead resident, Charan Singh. “But once I’m fully convinced they’re legit and not any problem. They have their proper ID’s then I’m fine. Otherwise it’s a no-no for me.”
Interested residents can order their free “Do Not Knock” decal by calling (516) 812-3200.