Police to target panhandlers - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Police to target panhandlers

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Warmer weather means more panhandlers out on the streets.

Toledo mayor D. Michael Collins (I) sent an email to police chief William Moton, Monday, requesting the police crack down on aggressive panhandlers.

For the most part, panhandlers will just get a citation but repeated problems could land someone in jail.

Panhandlers can be found on streets corners and exit ramps.

Toledo police will start enforcing the city's anti-panhandling ordinance this Spring.

They are people looking for a handout, sometimes the act aggressively.

“This is not how we define our city.”

Monday, mayor Collins asked Toledo police to put an end to it, telling 13abc’s Bill Hormann,  “When they say, I will work for food, offer them a job and see how much work they’ll do.”

Collins believes people who really need help can turn to a social service organization or church.

“Panhandling has never been something positive.”

Ken Leslie runs a group called “1 Matters“.

He’s spent time on the streets and sees panhandling as a dead end.

Leslie says, “There are people in need.  There are people scamming, but nobody knows the difference unless you talk to them.”

Leslie tries to give panhandlers an alternative by providing them a newspaper called “Toledo Streets” they can sell for a dollar.  He believes this gives them a skill and it also gives them a chance to regain some of their dignity.

Take Lawrence Staler.  Drugs… alcohol… jail… he faced it all but refused to beg and started selling Ken’s paper as a way to make money.

It didn’t take long for Lawrence to show initiative and be successful.  He told 13abc, “after 6 months, I made right around $12,000 dollars.”

But those who either won’t, or can’t, help themselves should know Toledo police see panhandling as a quality of life issue, and Sgt Joe Heffernan says it you aggressive, threatening or bothersome you could be in trouble.

“If they are doing that they are subject to criminal citation or arrest,” he warns.

It is not illegal to hold a sign and stand on a street.

Panhandling is only a problem if people get in your way and are aggressive.

But mayor Collins says people who are truly on hard times should get help from any number of organizations the city helps support.

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