According to an email from the Hillcrest Forest Neighborhood Association, a larger than average number of panhandlers have been observed recently “near North Central Expressway and our Preston Road Shopping centers.”
The president of the neighborhood association says he spoke with police and was told that most panhandlers have “well-rehearsed stories” designed to “elicit sympathy.” Because of this, officers caution against forking over cash.
Dallas as a whole has spent a lot of time talking about panhandling lately. In an effort to address “citizens’ concerns regarding aggressive panhandling” the police department launched what it’s calling the “Quality of Life Initiative.”
“This is not a zero-tolerance operation, but rather an effort to impact aggressive and unsafe behavior associated with panhandling. While the term can be subjective, we recognize the acts of walking into the streets and highways to approach vehicle occupants and demand money as aggressive. Additionally, blocking or impeding sidewalks in an effort to coerce money from fellow pedestrians is seen as aggressive, as is standing at or in front of a business demanding money as patrons enter and exit, and then shouting obscenities when money is not given … This is not a focus on those who are homeless, but a focus on aggressive panhandlers. Some arrestees have residences. Some have had over $100 dollars on them at the time of arrest. One lives with his parents, and another states he is supplementing his savings account.”
So far, most of the “Quality of Life” efforts have been focused “around the downtown area.” Since the initiative was announced on Feb. 1, roughly 260 individuals have been arrested. Officers encourage people with philanthropic hearts to “seek out a reputable charity that provides assistance” to those in need. Click here for more information.
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