The beginning of the door-to-door census season next week comes hard on the heels of a recent spate of scam artists in Ahwatukee Foothills touting products from home to home and getting nasty when told no.
For police, and residents, the tough part will be to separate the official census workers who may be making follow-up or quality control visits to homes, from others going door-to-door with bad intentions.
But police say that it is no reason to get excited.
“Just because they knock on your door, don’t turn of the lights and call us,” said officer Rick Tamburo.
Leo Cardenas, a media specialist with the Census Bureau in Denver, said that with more than 300 million people to count, census workers don’t want to go door-to-door asking people to fill out the 10-question questionnaire that will be mailed to every household in the next few weeks.
But if the questionnaires don’t get returned, or if workers need to check addresses, then staff will hit the streets.
“Look out for your questionnaire and answer it, or someone will be knocking on your front door,” Cardenas said.
The census is mandated in the U.S. Constitution, with the count taking place once every decade. Among other uses, it is used to allocate seats in Congress and divide up federal and state funding.
Cardenas said that census workers, many of whom are part-time workers, will have an official identification badge signed by them, plus most will be carrying a U.S. Census Bureau shoulder bag to help quickly identify them.
But that doesn’t mean police don’t want to know if there is a suspicious person or persons lurking around a neighborhood.
“If they don’t look the part, or act the part, call us,” Tamburo said.