Public Notices & Public Service Announcements

Suspicious Van in the Wantage Area

UPDATE — Suspicious Van in the Wantage Area

A short time ago, complaints were received from citizens regarding an individual driving a van who came to their homes late in the evening on a weekend and attempted to gain entry to their home, claiming to be taking a "health survey" and showing a badge and a clipboard as ID.

After extensive research and following up on leads, the Township finds that the U.S. Census Bureau is in the process of conducting various surveys in this area of the United States. The Census Bureau informs that none of their employees should attempt to gain entry into a person's home.

Wantage Township concludes that this incident most likely involved a situation in which the extensive workload and large territory assigned to given US Census Bureau employees led them to conduct door to door surveys after dark. While Wantage Township has expressed a preference for the Census Bureau to conduct such surveys in the future before nightfall, there is no guarantee that this will happen.

Wantage Township respects the efforts of the US Census Bureau in pursuing their required data gathering. In a spirit of good faith, we are posting here some informational material that will assist the public in understanding the Census Bureau's survey efforts.

Having said that, Wantage Township wishes to reinforce advice previously given to the general public: if you are not comfortable with a stranger coming to your door after dark, or at any time for that matter, simply Close Your Door and/or do not answer the door. If the party persists, inform them to leave your premises and that you are calling the police.

Originally Reported 12/09/12 - details | census survey information brochure 5MB PDF

Original post- 12/10/12
A resident of the Simmons Lake area of Wantage Township reported that an unidentified woman—with short gray hair, holding a clipboard and a badge of some sort— knocked on her door the evening of December 9th and attempted to convince the resident to allow her access into the home, in order to fill out a form regarding health questions. Based on information from her neighbors, she may have been inside a white colored van that had circled the neighborhood several times before pulling into this particular resident's driveway. The woman represented that the Town had "sent a letter" regarding this matter.

MAKE NO MISTAKE:

  1. Wantage has sent no letter regarding any such matter
  2. No legitimate representative of government would seek to gain entrance to your home, especially at night. Never agree to let a stranger into your home!
  3. A clipboard and a badge are not sufficient identification. Unless the person has a photo ID, representation regarding their identity should not be accepted. Even with a photo ID, do not let them into your home!

IN SUCH A SITUATION, DO WHAT THIS CITIZEN DID: CLOSE THE DOOR AND CALL THE STATE POLICE!

ALSO:
Please remember that you are not obliged to open your door to an unknown person, and you should take care to act with caution whenever some one offers to sell you food, fix your driveway, clean your gutters, or any other service which you have not requested. If they are a legitimate business person, they will be willing to send you their contact information in the mail and do business with you another day, if you choose to contact them. Do not accept suggestions of "good deals if you act now". Any such representations should raise a yellow flag of caution.

Suspicious activity should be reported to the
New Jersey State Police at 973-383-1515.