As an organization dedicated to organizing and informing, Citizens for a Safer San Leandro (CSSL) sometimes receives information, tools and other resources to help residents protect themselves and know what's going on around them.

Check here from time to time for new articles to support you., June 26, 2009  Consumer rip-off, door-to-door salespeople who use dubious tactics to sell burglar alarm systems

One consumer rip-off that shows no sign of abating is the annual invasion of door-to-door salespeople who use dubious and intrusive tactics to sell burglar-alarm systems to unwary homeowners, a topic we covered in "Scam Alert: Don't Get Ripped Off by an Alarm Company."

Jane Driggs, president of the Better Business Bureau of Utah, stops short of advising you not to buy an alarm system from door-to-door salespeople, but says, "You just have to make sure that you verify everything the company says and do your comparison shopping as if somebody hadn't come to the door." Read the BBB's "Don’t Fall for the Deceptive Pitch of a Door-to-Door Alarm Salesman."

Law-enforcement and consumer-protection officials warn you to be wary of an alarm salesperson who:

• Attempts to alarm you by citing rashes of burglaries in their neighborhoods.

• Claims to represent or wear clothing with logos from major alarm manufacturers like GE and Honeywell. These firms don't sell directly to consumers and don't allow their logos to be used by door-to-door salespeople.

• Tries to gain entrance into your home. "I actually had a salesperson reach inside the door to show me where his system would go and ask if he could come in," says Driggs. "I have a big dog, so I wasn't worried about it, but I could see a lot of people might have let him gain admittance that way."

• Offers a free system. Experts say "free" systems usually come with higher monthly service fees. Also be sure that the contract clearly indicates what the monthly service fee will be. "If they say your charges are going to be $44 a month for a one-year term, verify that that's what the contract says—don't sign it if it isn't clearly stated," says Driggs.

"Alarm companies generally don't make money on the equipment, but on he monthly services. You should focus on the quality of the service and the length of the contract—many jurisdictions limit the length and number of automatic renewals," says Ron Walters, the Security Industry Alarm Coalition's director of field operations. Make sure the contract stipulates the length of the agreement and any associated early-termination fees.

• Says the company is ready to install your system right away. Experts say legitimate alarm companies don't mind taking the time to talk to consumers to get a comprehensive view of their security needs.

• Claims your current alarm company is defunct. A scam recently spotted by our colleagues at The Consumerist involves Orem, Utah-based Pinnacle Security. The company's reps have been implying to customers of CastleRock Security in Wichita, Kansas, that CastleRock has gone out of business, a claim CastleRock disputes. Another variation on this theme is a salesperson's claim that your current equipment needs updating. Read more about this story on the KWCH Web site.

Industry experts stress that you should deal only with well-established companies. Find out which local or state agency has jurisdiction over alarm companies and check the records of any company you're considering using. Also see whether your homeowner's-insurance company offers a discount for using certain alarm companies.—Gian Trotta is a web site and email service that gives local communities a simple tool that can help them organize and make a stand against crime in their neighborhoods. The web site allows residents to easily report and track two types of neighborhood activity, i.e., suspicious vehicles and solicitors.

  • Suspicious Vehicle in Your Neighborhood? LicenseLook allows neighbors to input license numbers and descriptions of cars that appear to be out of place in their neighborhood. By logging the license plate and description of suspicious vehicles (whether the car is parked or passing through) you are creating valuable information that the police can use to capture criminals.
  • Odd Door-to-Door Solicitor? More and more scams are happening right at your front door with criminals posing as representatives of charitable organizations or local service companies. LicenseLook will also allow residents to log visits from questionable persons posing as salespeople soliciting your business

LicenseLook was created to give local residents tools to help them deter criminal activities in their community and better their chances of catching criminals. The system allows residents to organize around a common goal and gives them the tools to make their efforts visible to would-be criminals as well as to their neighbors and friends.

Please go to or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  To signup for a monthly newsletter that will outline changes and progress with LicenseLook as well as best practices: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

December 1, 2010:  LicenseLook yard signs are now available at Evergreen Nursery (350 San Leandro Blvd.) and at the Bal Theatre (14808 East 14th St.).

Recently there has been a rash of solicitors in San Leandro neighborhoods. The stories have been bold and varied. The youth have often been polite, clean cut and well behaved. Their stories often sounded very legitimate.

 Here is what the San Leandro Police Department says about solicitors:  Identify who is knocking or buzzing by asking through the door before opening. If they are some sort of solicitor, have them produce identification. The PEDDLER PERMIT from the City of San Leandro has the city logo and states the card is the property of the City of San Leandro. The card is a laminated card and must be worn by the person at all times while conducting business in the City of San Leandro. They also need a city Business License. The Business License has CITY OF SAN LEANDRO in large print on the front side. Do not accept any excuses. If the solicitors do not have the proper ID, tell them you are not interested and contact the SLPD non-emergency telephone number 577-2740.


Below are some of the types of door-to-door stories that occurred in a San Leandro neighborhood around the dates of March 2 to March 8, 2010 and March 17, 2010

    • Youth soliciting for baseball
  • Collecting money for San Leandro High School baseball team to go to the World Series in Lahaina, Maui;
  • coach was making him do this, had nothing in his hand
  • collecting money for his team;
  • collecting money for his team and claimed to live on San Jose St., had spikey hair, tall, Caucasian, wire-framed glasses, wearing a blue sweatshirt
  • white male claimed he lived on Lee Ave., son of a doctor, did chores for people to raise money, washes Mr. Jones’ car 2 doors down (note, there is no Mr. Jones two-doors down);
  • claimed to be Dr. Lee’s son and to live in the neighborhood, 20’s, almost shaved head, black Nor-Cal jacket, red & white tennis shoes, jeans, umbrella, pierced ear