SAPD Cracking Down On Panhandling

Police looking to ticket drivers who give to panhandlers

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Department is looking to take aggressive measures when it comes to cracking down on panhandling, including, ticketing drivers who give to panhandlers.

On Wednesday, Chief William McManus addressed the council's Public Safety Committee about their efforts to fix the problem.

McManus told the council's public safety committee that because of an increasing number of complaints about panhandling, they decided to push this new ordinance.

"It's for the protection of the public who wil run red lights have their car spit on," said McManus. "It's for everyone's safey. I think it's a good ordinance."

The ordinance would also prohibit people from giving food to panhandlers.

Mcmanus said if people want to help, they can donate to organizations like the United Way or the Salvation Army.

"Giving money to people on the street, simply enables them to continue to buy drugs," said McManus. "It's not the case a hundred percent of the time, but in manycases it is." McManus said panhandling arrests are up 34 percent this fiscal year and that they are working to force chronic offenders into out-patient treatment.

David Farley said he panhandles everyday, in hopes of making some cash to take care of his wife and his dog.

"It's just unfortunate with my wife's schizofrenia," said Farley. "Her medication is like a thousand dollars a month and I can't afford that. So, I'm stuck out here doing this."

Farley said the new ordinance would really hurt him and dozens of other people who ask for money on the street.

"I know that they are really going to make it hard on us," said Farley. "I mean there are people out here that do drugs, that do drink, but there are some of us out here who don't. I take care of my wife."

McManus said they will bring the new ordinance back before the Public Safety Committee in October.


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