“I am a few dollars short for bus to Victoria or Duncan…”
“Can you spare some change for something to eat? I haven’t eaten for days…”
“I just need to get to …. destination “
We’ve heard it before. People understandably give to panhandlers who look hungry, not realizing that much of the money given to them is spent on alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. By providing a regular supply of money to panhandlers, we further enable and encourage that lifestyle.
It is not illegal to ask for money, but it is illegal to aggressively beg or intimidate a passerby, to intentionally touch or cause physical contact, to follow or persist in begging after a negative response has been given or obstruct a pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
BE AWARE, ALERT, CONFIDENT & PREPARED TO ACT
You are entitled to your space and do not have to be intimidated or harassed.
Do not go into your wallet or purse in front of the panhandlers.
Acknowledge a panhandler with a nod and answer the request for money by saying “no”, then walk away. Don’t get angry or feel guilty.
You may also choose not to speak to the panhandler at all, which is okay as long as you have a well thought out plan on how you will conduct yourself in maintaining your confidence during this situation.
ANYONE WHO FEELS THREATENED, OR INTIMIDATED SHOULD CALL THE POLICE
Give the description of the panhandler
Location of occurrence
Time of occurrence
Direction of travel (with vehicle description of possible)
Be willing to assist police with prosecution if necessary