As the weather heats up, so do the odds of someone knocking at your door, trying to sell you something, get your vote or ask your opinion.

As the weather heats up, so do the odds of someone knocking at your door, trying to sell you something, get your vote or ask your opinion.

Bexley police want residents to know that solicitors have laws they must follow and homeowners have options if salespeople just won't take no for an answer.

City council is expected to consider changes to the city's solicitor ordinance in an effort to further discourage aggressive canvassers.

Currently, anyone selling items or conducting opinion polls in the city of Bexley must undergo a background check and have those results forwarded to the police department, in addition to paying an annual $25 fee for a permit.

Solicitors are required to wear their permit, which includes a photo, at all times, and must operate between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The only exception to the rule is political organizations, which are allowed to solicit until 9 p.m.

City attorney Lou Chodosh said he will recommend changes to the solicitor ordinance clarifying that political organizations must file permits with the city.

More importantly, the ordinance will beef up language dealing with overzealous salespeople.

Changes will include language dealing with solicitors "annoying building occupants."

Over the past few years, police have received complaints from residents that some solicitors have repeatedly banged on doors or been aggressive and wouldn't take no for an answer.

The law is an effort to "balance solicitors' constitutional rights versus residents' rights to privacy," Chodosh said. "We've got to get the word out to residents that they have a right to not be disturbed."

There are currently five companies or organizations soliciting in the city, but that number is expected to climb as the weather warms, Police Chief Larry Rinehart said.

"Residents have several options in dealing with overly aggressive solicitors," Rinehart said. "They can answer the door and simply tell the solicitor they are not interested or they can choose to not answer the door and completely ignore the solicitor. If the solicitor continues to be aggressive, continues to bang on the door, or will not take no for an answer, residents should not hesitate to call the police at our non-emergency number."

Requiring permits and background checks also helps discourage would-be criminals, Rinehart said.

"It is no secret that in the past some criminals posed as solicitors. They would pick what appeared to be a low-traffic street and knock on the front door. If no one answered the front door, they would go to the back and knock, all the while carrying a clipboard or a box of candy bars as their disguise," Rinehart said. "After a period of time, they would determine that no one was home and then force entry into the house, all under the guise of being a legitimate solicitor."

Under Bexley law, soliciting without a permit is a fourth-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $250 fine.

According to the ordinance, the police chief can also suspend the permit of a solicitor who engaged in "unreasonable sales techniques, used improper language, failed or refused to leave any premises upon request."

Rinehart said residents should not hesitate to call police if a solicitor is bothersome, or if they see suspicious activity under the guise of door-to-door sales.

"Our communities are at their safest when we get to know our neighbors, what cars are normally in the drive and when our neighbors are at work or on vacation," Rinehart said. "Crimes are solved and prevented and criminals are arrested when neighbors become vigilant, get to know each other, and call the police when they see anything suspicious."

The Bexley Police non-emergency number is (614) 559-4444.