- “I’m out of gas, can you spare some change?”
- “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