Chapel Hill Police Cracking Down On Aggressive Panhandling
Posted August 6, 2002 10:49 a.m. EDT
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — As students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill return to Franklin Street, panhandlers are also becoming a familiar site near the UNC campus.
The Chapel Hill police chief said the town gets about 10 to 12 complaints about panhandlers every week. Merchants said it is a problem that seems to be getting worse.
"They're there from the time I get here in the morning until I leave in the afternoon," said a merchant.
A town ordinance forbids panhandling less than 6 feet from a bus stop and less than 20 feet from an ATM, but store owners said it is not working.
Merchants are concerned pandhandlers are a detriment to business by driving away customers.
The police chief said officers have increased patrols and are trying to make their presence known to panhandlers. Police are also working with the town council on the problem.
Despite some arrests, police said no one wants to testify against the panhandlers in court, so the charges do not stick.