Abington Police Lt. Patrick Molloy said in a presentation at the public safety committee last week that there have been several complaints from residents regarding solicitors on their property.
How many? More than 90 complaints since September. Abington Police Chief William Kelly called the situation a “vexing problem.”
Molloy said that many of the solicitors have been “heavy-handed” in their approach and added that many of them are with the company Commerce Energy and have misrepresented themselves as PECO employees, sometimes stepping in residents’ homes.
Commissioner Dennis Zappone said that representatives from Commerce Energy have tried to force their way into senior citizens’ homes in his ward.
Molloy and Kelly both said that police have made arrests and issued citations in these incidents. They also said that the police department has reached out to Commerce Energy's parent company regarding the issue.
In January, the board will look to revise its ordinance on solicitation. The proposed ordinance will require each solicitor to receive a criminal history check. Also, if one representative from a company violates the solicitation ordinance, the entire company will be banned from soliciting in the township.
“Our officers got angry that people were coming in our town and harassing our citizens in their home,” Kelly said, “and that’s totally unacceptable.”
Right now, residents may sign up to be placed on a township-wide do-not-solicit list by calling the township or stopping by the Abington Police records room.
Check back later for an update regarding the ordinance.