Clarksville, Ind. bans aggressive panhandling - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Clarksville, Ind. bans aggressive panhandling

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Clarksville is putting limits on panhandling.  On Monday, the town council approved an ordinance that bans aggressive panhandling.

"There's no pride in standing on a street corner with your hand out," says Barbara Anderson, Executive Director of The Haven House Homeless Shelter in Jeffersonville.  "Mostly I just say we don't tolerate it."

Anderson says the homeless get the blame for most of the panhandling in southern Indiana.

She explains, "Everybody thinks that and I always correct them.  It's like, our folks do not panhandle."  She says it's usually outsiders trying to make a quick dollar. "I had one man just say 'lady, you're wrecking my corner, just get out of my way," said Anderson.

Chief Mark Palmer with Clarksville Police says, "Some of 'em know they can make anywhere from 50 to a hundred dollars within an hour."

Chief Palmer knows panhandling is strictly a business for some people.  He says some don't even fear being ticketed by police.  "A lot of them will tell you you know give me the ticket...you know what? I'll pay your fine 'cause I can make that kind of money in an hour."

But this week, the town council passed an ordinance against what's known as aggressive panhandling.  Chief Palmer explains, "Aggressive panhandling is you or maybe a family members is getting out of your car...you just got out of your car, you are getting ready to go into this business and boom, there's somebody right on you."

That includes retail stores and parking lot, bus stops, ATMs and dangerous expressway on and off ramps.  And if it happens multiple times, there could be more than just a citation, according to Chief Palmer.  "And now if we have to come back and deal with them again with that trespassing warranty on them we can actually take some criminal action against them."

Barbara Anderson says it's also a safety issue; several years ago panhandling ended fatally for one of her clients.  "He was killed on Eastern Blvd when he was in his wheelchair and he had been panhandling and rolling away and a truck hit him."

Chief Palmer says his department is communicating with surrounding police agencies, hoping to get everyone on the same page.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News.  All rights reserved.

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