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Sheriff's Dept. Gives Residents Tips for Dealing With Suspicious People

Residents on Facebook reported suspicious people selling various services from door to door and a crime specialist gives advice on the situation.

Have you been approached at home by strangers offering various services? Numerous residents shared their stories of suspicious visitors on Ramona Patch's Facebook page in an effort to warn unaware neighbors.

A number of residents said that men claiming to be selling Dish/DirecTV services were knocking on doors near Ramona High. There are reports of a white Honda with tinted windows that the suspect(s) are driving.

Other residents say that a young, white male was going door to door selling cleaning products.

Crime Prevention Specialist Barbara Wallace, who works at Ramona's Sheriff's Department Substation, said on Friday that no reports of any suspcious vehicles or suspicious persons fitting those decriptions were called into the station since Jan. 21.

"If citizens actually observe a vehicle that they feel is suspicious, it is essential that they call the Sheriff's Dispatch at 760-789-1200," Wallace told Patch in an email. "They shouldn't wait for someone else to make the call."

Wallace said criminals will use many different types of activities to "scope out" houses to burglarize in an attempt to find a target.

"Just last week, detectives were talking to a young man who said he and his co-burglars are aware of which homes leave their garage doors open so they can return and easily steal items from those garages," Wallace sad. "Thievery is their 'business.'"

The crime prevention specialist said it's important for residents to be aware of their surroundins and take steps to avoid giving burglars an easy opportunity to steal.

"One important factor to keep in mind is this: If you didn't request a company to come to your house and provide a service for you, you don't have to listen to their sales speech or let them in your home," Wallace said.

Other things Wallace said to keep in mind for safety regarding sales pitches:

  • Just like we tell our children – don't let strangers in your home because they may be evaluating you and your home to see if they want to come back and burglarize your home.  
  • Keep your door locked.
  • Talk to the "salesperson" through the screen or security door,
  • If a resident is approached by individuals purporting to be employees of any company they should never hesitate to ask for identification from them—even if you requested a service call from a reputable company you should make sure you are convinced of their identity.
  • Once they are working in your home it is also a good idea to not leave them alone with access to everything you own.

Wallace said Ramona Patrol Deputies are constantly scanning the streets for suspicious vehicles and persons, but no one can be everywhere at once. If you see any sort of suspicious activities, report, report, report.

"When citizens offer information about suspicious activities the Deputies listen and respond so they can locate and evaluate suspicious situations or persons," Wallace said. "It's a partnership." 

Residents can sign up for special alerts from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department at Nixle.com or text 92065 to 888777. And remember to report suspicious vehicles and activity to the Sheriff's Dispatch at 760-789-1200.

TJ January 29, 2013 at 02:32 PM
I read on Facebook that someone takes a picture with their cell phone when a (suspicious looking) person comes to their front door since they are on private property without an invitation.

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