Tuesday, December 30, 2003

150 sign up for no-knock law protection

In Villa Hills, it's now a reportable offense

By Emily Hagedorn
Enquirer contributor

VILLA HILLS - When Sharon Niewahner says no, she means it. Solicitors would often come to her door - at dinnertime - and stay long past "No, thank you," said the Villa Hills resident.

Now, Niewahner has the power of the police behind her refusals.

More than 150 Villa Hills residents have signed up for its "zero-knock" list, which went into effect two months ago.

The law makes it illegal to "peddle, sell, vend, solicit, promote, dispense, distribute or otherwise convey" any items or services at homes on the list.

While representing about 6 percent of all Villa Hills homeowners, the list will probably grow in the warmer months, said Sue Kramer, city clerk.

"There's not much soliciting in the winter," she said. "In the spring and summer, it might kick back up again."

For Niewahner, the list provides peace of mind.

On one occasion, a cleaning product salesman continued to clean the outside of Niewahner's Rogers Road home after she had shut the door.

He shined one of the brass address numbers on her home until it was shinier than the others, she said.

"I don't like pushy people," she said.

An environmental group that often worked her neighborhood wouldn't let Niewahner shut the door when they came, she said.

"They would say, 'Well, let me show you this.' They won't take no for an answer."

First-time offenders face a Class B misdemeanor with a $250 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Each subsequent offense would be a Class A misdemeanor with a $500 fine and up to a year in jail.

So far, no solicitors have been reported, said Villa Hills Police Lt. Dan Goodenough.

Erlanger has also maintained a list since September 2002. About 100 people have signed up.

No one has been reported violating this ordinance, said Capt. Bob Arens with the Erlanger Police Department.

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