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Letter: Resident Asks for Support for Do Not Knock Article at Special Town Meeting

Dear Tewksbury residents, 

After having solicitors come to my door, year after year, I finally decided to see if I could do something about it. I researched what other towns do and found that a “Do Not Knock” registry was an option.  Any business that wishes to go door to door must register with the Tewksbury Police Department and receive a permit from the town clerk. This is to sell goods or services to you at your house. The “Do Not Knock Registry” would give residents the option to sign up and opt out of a solicitor coming to your house, except those allowed by law.

In the past few years, there has been a change in the solicitors that have been coming to our homes.  I don’t mind the scouts or local politicians knocking, but some solicitors have become aggressive and use tactics that are suspicious. For example, someone dressed up as a mailman tried to sell us a new roof; someone claimed to be from Mass Electric when Mass Electric did not exist anymore; someone from an internet company came to our door and signed us up for a product, forging my husband’s signature after we had refused; and a pest control company would not take “no” for an answer. At a time when children may be home alone, or an elderly person may get nervous or scammed, it makes sense to have an option for residents to say no to solicitors.

Methuen, Haverhill, Waltham and a dozen other cities and towns in our state have a similar bylaw.  The “Do Not Knock” registry will give residents the option to opt out of someone soliciting at your home. Exempt organizations are 501(c)(3) nonprofits; youth organizations; Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts; school, political or religious organizations; or any group/organization allowed by law.  Solicitors would receive a list of homes that opted out when they receive their permits. If a solicitor still comes to your door, they would be fined $300 and not be allowed to solicit any homes in Tewksbury for a period of one year.  

Please come to Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 5  at 7 p.m. at Tewksbury Memorial High School and vote for Article 16, the “Do Not Knock Registry.”  

Thank you, 
Christine Chesbrough

Ed note: Learn more about the Do Not Knock initiative here. Note that to take part in Special Town Meeting, you must be a registered voter. The deadline to register in time to participate in STM is Sept. 24, and the Town Clerk has information about that here. The STM warrant is available here.

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