Local News

Census Workers Hit Streets To Find People Who Did Not Return Forms

Posted April 27, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— You can hang up on a telemarketer or close your front door on a pushy salesman, but if aCensusperson comes calling, the law says you have to talk to them.

Like 42 million Americans, Wilson resident Wanda Jones could not return her census form on time.

"Well, I have a very busy schedule. I work second shift, and I have two nieces that I take care of," Jones says. "I just kept putting it off and putting it off. Finally, I just forgot about it."

Census workers are getting ready to hit the streets to look for people who did not return their forms. There are certain things to look for when they come calling.

First, the census employee will say what he or she will be doing. They will be wearing a badge and carrying a small black bag with the U.S. Census Bureau seal displayed.

Census employees will not knock on people's doors after dark and will not ask for any Social Security or bank account numbers.

With so much publicity about the door-to-door visits, police are already expecting impostors.

"They may obtain a false ID or any kind of ID they can get their hands on, and go to the door and knock on the door and ask to make entry into the residence," says Capt. Carlton Turnage of theWilson Police Department.

Anyone who feels uncomfortable can tell census workers to come back at a later time. Residents are also allowed to refuse to answer certain questions.

Anyone suspicious of the person who comes to the door should call police.

"They should call 911 to have an officer respond and just check out the person to see if they are truly who they say they are," Turnage says.

Census workers are given 40 households to get in contact with, and they are required to make up to six contacts until they get in touch with the family.

All census workers have been screened by the government to make sure that they do not have criminal histories.