Should you [give panhandlers money / call the cops on panhandlers]?

I used to give panhandlers money all the time. Even though I believed they would likely spend it on alcohol, I believed it was the right thing to do: I had money and they needed it. Sometimes I’ve given them money and they’ve gone right across the street and actually bought food (although I’m not sure that they got their best value by getting fast food instead of going to the grocery). But for the most part, I gave it to them knowing they would spend it on alcohol.

But lately, I’ve found them to be more of a nuisance. Aggressive begging on the street, yelling at me when I reject them. There are also those who stand at the end of an exit from a freeway, sign in hand, hoping that some schmoe will feel guilty because they are forced to look at them when they are stuck at the red light. And that’s why I don’t like them there, I like my freeway-to-street transitions to be smooth and guilt-free.

And so, since panhandling is illegal in my city, I’ve taken to reporting them to the cops every time I see them at this red light.

Is that wrong? While some of them are just scamming, surely some of them are actually in need of money. By calling the cops on them, am I depriving them of a livelihood which they can’t seem to get by other means? That is, should their right to ask for money trump my city’s right to clean up its bum population?

No, it’s not wrong to report the panhandling if it’s illegal. It does, however, mark you as a tool of the bourgeoisie.

Just kidding.

When I lived in Philly I learned to ignore them. Sometimes if I was on my way to a fast food place I’d buy a burger or something and give it to them on my way back.

As long as they’re not physically accosting people, panhandlers are within their First-Amendment rights to ask for money. It should not be illegal. But you’re under no obligation to give them anything if you don’t want to. Why does a city have a “right to clean up its bum population”? Who are they going to “clean up” next?


And where are they supposed to go?

Also : from your post, it seems that your decision to report them to the police is much more dictated by your personal convenience (you want a “guilt-free” drive, you don’t want to be “forced to look at them”) than by any kind of civic duty.

And now why are you asking? You’re struggling with another kind of guilt?

I’d never consider calling the police on 'em unless I was convinced they were dangerous; speaking from experience, they’re generally about as dangerous as a fart in a windstorm.

Bear in mind that these hobos, panhandlers, bums, winos, vagrants and tramps are human beings, not stray dogs.

Yep. The only reason you give em the boot (or request the boot be given) is if they’re physically acosting innocent people. Sleeping on the sidewalk and/or asking for spare change isn’t against any good law you wanna be a bum, that’s your business. If the person in question is being civil, walk/drive by and mind your own. If one threatens you, call the cops and leave the area, they’ll deal with him/her.

Your rights end where theirs begin, you’re not entitled to your own private bubble, ferchrissakes, some stinkbum rolls up and asks you for change, tell him no if you don’t wanna give it to him and move on, you’re not constitutionally protected from feeling guilty.

Personally, I help em when I can, as long as they’re honest. Pisses me off when I get the “I need a dollar for some food” line on my way into a restaurant. I say “Come on in, I’ll buy you lunch” Then they get pissy and just want the money. Look, you want it for booze, say so. The guy that said “I’m working on my Jack Daniels research project and need some money” Got $10 from me.

There is no right to panhandle. Public areas are there for their obvious purpose. Me, you, nor anyone else have a right to loiter in a public area for the purposes of begging for change. There is no “speech” involved.

Is it really helping these people to allow them to beg for booze money every day and then repeat the cycle the next day? Take them to a shelter or a church.

What he said, but I’m not kidding.

If I want to set up a business I need a business license and have to pay the corresponding taxes and fees. Why does some transient get to set up his business for free? Chances are also good that he/she is committing fraud by lying about why they need money.

I’ll support work programs, more mental health programs, and dormitories, but I don’t want people living and begging in the streets. It’s not good for them and it’s not good for the business owners who have customers driven away from the downtown core and into the strip-malled suburbs.

No, you shouldn’t give them money. Something tells me that most of the people responding to this don’t live in urban areas and actually have to deal with vagrants every day.

cant beleive this post

  1. i’m speechless
  2. begging could not ultimately be viewed as a business

Why not?

Yes, here in the sticks of Manhattan I have trouble relating to your big city troubles.

I don’t think you quite understand the whole “homeless” concept.

Which is what?

A business offers goods and services. The laws regulating business are meant to protect consumers when they are in the market for a goods or services. The government regulates the marketplace and collects taxes, from the businesses and the consumers.

Begging itself doesn’t enter the sphere of “marketplace,” doesn’t need to be regulated or taxed. No goods or services are offered, and no exchange of money is required.

In my suburb, it is illegal and I have reported one who was doing it inside the grocery store. The cops were familair with him, but they just told him to move on. In the big city, I just say I have no income at all.
This is fine, except for the one who looked at me and said ‘You can work! Theres nothing wrong with you!’ and I thought, sheesh, thats what i get for explaining!

people who play “down and out” are definitely annoying and they should receive no money from anyone

but sometimes it is real, and those situations are intense for the person, and you should give spare change if you have spare change