TO: Mayor and Town Council
FROM: W. Calvin Horton, Town Manager
SUBJECT: Quarterly Report on Panhandling
DATE: May 10, 2004
The Council has requested quarterly reports on panhandling.
In March 2003, the Council amended the Town’s solicitation ordinance to include limitations on solicitation at night, and prohibitions of solicitation along roadways, shoulders and medians. During the months of April and May 2003, all police officers received training on the new ordinance. During this same time officers issued warnings to solicitors who were in violation of the new provisions. Issuance of citations began on June 1, 2003.
In the first three quarters of Fiscal Year 2003-2004 sixteen citations were issued, fourteen in the central business district. The violations were for:
Along the Roadway 1
Near a Bus Stop 2
Near a Financial Institution 1
After Dusk 12
During the same time period in Fiscal Year 2002-2003, seven citations for panhandling were issued. Five were for aggressive panhandling, one of which resulted in an Armed Robbery charge also, when the suspect threatened the victim with a box cutter. The other citations were for soliciting within 20 feet of a financial institution. Six of the seven offenses occurred in the Central Business District.
We believe that issues of aggressive panhandling have been reduced by consistent enforcement of the ordinance. Central business district foot officers will continue these efforts, particularly as pedestrian traffic increases with the warmer weather. As was done last summer, Department personnel will work with the UNC summer camp programs to address downtown safety issues for campers.