City Taking Steps To Deal With Increasing Problem Of Panhandlers

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Police Chief David Roddy discusses panhandling problem with the City Council
Police Chief David Roddy discusses panhandling problem with the City Council

City officials are taking steps to deal with an increasing problem caused by panhandlers.

Assistant City Attorney Phil Noblett said a resolution would be before the City Council by next week that deals with panhandling on a citywide basis.

Police Chief David Roddy said officers have been hampered by the fact that the current panhandling restrictions just apply to certain areas.

He told council members, "Panhandling is now a problem in all of your nine districts."

He also said that panhandlers now often just shift to another area when they are run off from one section.

Hixson's Ken Smith said residents were alarmed recently when a man was going among lanes of traffic on Northpoint Boulevard knocked on car windows asking for money.

Councilman Anthony Byrd said merchants along MLK Boulevard are seeing increasing problems with panhandlers and patrons are frightened by some of the aggressive beggars.

Carol Berz of Brainerd said panhandling is also a frequent topic of concern in her district.

Darrin Ledford of East Brainerd cited increasing concern with the panhandling problem. He said, "It's getting worse."

Chief Roddy said in some cases panhandlers can be charged with criminal trespass, which carries stiffer penalties.

He said one objective of officers is to, if possible, link the well-known panhandlers with agencies that might give them support and help them change their lifestyle.

Chief Roddy said one study showed that 92 percent of the money given to panhandlers goes for alcohol, drugs and prostitutes.


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