Local News

Your panhandling permit, please?

Posted September 28, 2009
Updated September 29, 2009

— During the down economy, panhandling-related offenses are on the rise in Raleigh. So far this year, police have arrested 212 people on charges, such as panhandling without a permit, loitering and pedestrian interference.

During the same time last year, 162 people had been arrested.

Raleigh panhandlers must be licensed to beg Raleigh panhandlers must be licensed to beg

Martin Sansalone said he knows how to panhandle within the city’s guidelines. He has been asking for money on the corner of Interstate 440 and Poole Road for four years.

The 62-year old says, for him, begging is about survival.

"I couldn't pay the bills,” he said.

Sansalone lives in a homeless campsite in the woods near the intersection.

“We are just gambling out here right now,” he said of life on the streets.

On a good day, Sansalone said he can make $20 an hour panhandling, but he must have a permit from the Raleigh Police Department.

"Oh yeah, I got a permit,” he said Monday afternoon.

The permits last a year and without one, beggars could be arrested and fined.

Thomas Mills was charged Friday with begging without a permit, according to an arrest warrant. The 38-year-old homeless man was taken into custody on the corner of I-440 and Hillsborough Street.

“If they are going to be panhandling, begging in the city of Raleigh, they are expected to have that permit,” said Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue.

The permits are free, but a photo ID is needed to apply.

“Once it is made certain they are not people who are wanted for anything, then a permit can be issued to them,” Sughrue said.

The permits are designed to help police identify the panhandlers, while also pointing out guidelines. The permit asks that there be no aggressive begging and no blocking traffic. Panhandlers are also advised to stay away from ATM machines and to operate between the hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.


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  • Pseudonym Oct 1, 2009

    $20 an hr panhandling??? I'm in the wrong business!!!

    These are they guys who won life's lottery, not us. We're just suckers, woking hard for a living and then giving these guys our money to the tune of $20 an hr!

  • smcallah Sep 30, 2009

    "Am I the only one that finds something wrong with this statement? In 4 yrs this guy has not found a job? Thanks NC for providing "Mooch Permits" for the lazy!"

    Really now, lazy? Why don't you go and stand out on a street corner and humble and embarass yourself PUBLICLY for only $20 an hour and see how you feel after doing that?

  • smcallah Sep 30, 2009

    "$20 an hour huh?? that's more than I make!! I hope these "homeless" folks are paying taxes on that cash."

    Why would they need to pay taxes on it? Tax was already paid on the money by the person giving it to them.

    Why should the same money be taxed twice?

    I thought most of you people on here were for lower or no taxes. And then you say that money that was already income taxed should be income taxed again... how does that make sense?

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Sep 30, 2009

    More Socialism from our Socialist Mayor and his Socialist City Council.

    This is making the city of Raleigh a joke nationwide. This was linked to from the Drudgereport.com.

  • tmparsons Sep 30, 2009

    We lived in California for 4 years and observed a variety of beggars/homeless/professional panhandlers. When we retired and relocated to Las Cruces, NM in 2001, there were professional panhandlers here too. One of the best things that our City Council did several years ago was make it illegal. There is zero tolerance!! I suggest citizens unite; there are ways to "clean up" our cities and it is not all about going green!

  • B1H Sep 30, 2009

    I see a panhandler everyday - morning, afternoon and after work. He has nicer clothes than me and a nice haircut. If it's raining or too hot you don't see him out there. I saw him spit at a car once because they ignored him. I wouldn't give any of them two cents...it should be against the law and it's terrible they don't pay taxes and make great money....something is wrong. I feel sorry for the hard working people paying taxes.

  • franklinenterprises Sep 30, 2009

    When I lived in the Durham area, in between Duke and UNC, I was always amazed at the "Christmas Miracle" that occurred every year during the Winter Break for the schools. Some how, miraculously, all the panhandlers just simply disappeared when school was not in session! Was it that somehow they just didn't need help at that time, or were they temporarily abducted by aliens during that time? They whole practice needs to be banned. Other than the crime of Durham, it is the next biggest thing detracting people from wanting to live in the area!

  • exposure102 Sep 30, 2009

    Its sad that some people has to resort to begging in order to survive. This is America, and I feel that this should not be happening. Where are the churches that could be helping? Where are the christians?
    September 30, 2009 11:23 a.m.

    Your statement shows your complete lack of understanding of the entire situation...

  • anglosaxon Sep 30, 2009

    New Bern and 440, New Bern and New Hope, New Bern and Corporation Parkway...terrible.

    However, there's an old guy that shuffles around, been in the area YEARS, he's the only one I trust IS legit., and he NEVER begs, he's the only one I give anything to - you have to actually pull off the road to give him anything, as he's always back off the main road. A couple of weeks ago I got him a Big Mac Meal, and put five dollars in the bag for a surprise. I always give him a bit of cash, but I also make a point to give him stuff as well (gave him some MREs last month, pack of cigarettes, candy bar, club from Jersey Mikes and so on, that kind of thing). He's not well - physically I mean - so there's no point asking him to do some work.

    Noticed "beggars" have started working the corner of Capital Blvd. (north) and Old Wake Forest Road, where the Burger King is. REALLY annoying.

  • Professor Sep 30, 2009

    Its sad that some people has to resort to begging in order to survive. This is America, and I feel that this should not be happening. Where are the churches that could be helping? Where are the christians?