Lieutenant Matt Wojslawowicz, Team 5 Commander with the Charleston Police Department, recently addressed “Ding, Dong, Ditch” activity in a letter to the Daniel Island Property Owners Association:
“The Charleston Police Department has been made aware of a recent uptick in the number of nuisance complaints involving juveniles ringing doorbells at residences then running away before the occupant has a chance to answer. This type of activity has a long history dating back to 19th century England where it was called knock, knock, ginger. The tradition possibly has roots dating back even further to the Cornish traditional holiday of Nickanan Night. In the United States, the prank has been called: ding, dong, ditch; doorbell ditch; nicky nicky nine doors; and ring & run.
While many might see this type of activity as harmless fun or simply juvenile tomfoolery, it is a criminal offense. In the City of Charleston, municipal code states that “no person shall ring any doorbell or knock on any door for the purpose of annoying the occupants of the premises.” (Sec. 21-110)
Residents can contact the Charleston Police Department’s dispatch center at 843-743-7200 to report this type of activity. Officers will be sent to the area to meet with any complainant and to try to locate those responsible. In addition to any criminal charges that may be levied against the juvenile for violating the previously noted city code, parents may be held financially liable for the actions of their children under Section 63-5-60 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.
Public safety and security is everyone's responsibility. If you see suspicious activity, report it to the Charleston Police Department at 843-743-7200 using the 5Ws:
Who did you see?
What did you see?
When did you see it?
Where did you see it?
Why was it suspicious?”