Columbus Police cracking down on panhandlers

Columbus Police are targeting what they call aggressive panhandlers. The move comes after a woman complained she was intimidated into giving money near the Bryce and Tussing Road intersection. Columbus Police Liuetenant Rick Bash says people shouldn’t give money to any panhandlers, especially those acting aggressively.

“An aggressive panhandler would be one that made you feel compleed to give at the risk of their behavior, so if you feel imtimidated because they are very close to you, or they’re using their body language to say if you fail to do this I’m going to take some kind of aggressive action against you (that would be an aggressive panhandler),” Bash says.

Bash also says it is better to give money to charities than to individuals who might have a drug or alcohol addiction. But Columbus Coalition for the Homeless director Bill Casto says giving to panhandlers should be a personal decision.

“I think that it’s a little simplistic to say ‘don’t do it at all’, or ‘give your money to some organization’. That’s really too simple. I think you have to do what your heart and your role in the community demands you do.”

Both Bash and Casto say people can direct panhandlers to shelters, food banks, and other agencies in lieu of giving money.