Milwaukee aldermen and other officials (above) announce the “Keep the Change” program in March 2016. Signs would be posted around the city to persuade motorists not to donate to panhandlers. The program was eventually approved and signs were posted, especially at locations where people in cars would be a perfect, captive audience.
Such an effort has been implemented around the country with panhandlers in total defiance, begging in front of the very signs that say they can’t.
The above photo was taken in Modesto, California.
Similar photos could be taken in Milwaukee where the beggars continue to position themselves right under…
While I support the signs and the program as I’ve blogged previously, I still shake my head and wonder if it was all just a wasted effort.
The Modesto Bee provides some insight that may not have been publicized or even realized by the policymakers in Milwaukee:
But the sign is not as much for him ( the above defiant panhandler) as it is for the people thinking about giving money to him, said Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Heather Graves.
Graves said the city began installing the signs… to discourage people from giving money to those who are begging.
And here’s food for thought from the article:
Modesto police Sgt. Gary Crawford said the homeless in Modesto have ample opportunity to get free meals throughout the day. The Salvation Army serves breakfast, Crosspoint Community Church serves dinner and the Modesto Gospel Mission serves both every day. There are also eight locations at which one can get a free lunch between 11:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
When Crawford cites people for panhandling and asks them why they do it, the most common answer is that they need the money for food.
But when he hands them the pamphlet with the list of every free meal in Modesto, time and location as well as other services for homeless and presses them further, many of them admit they use the money to buy drugs and alcohol
“They do it for 20 or 30 minutes, just stay until they can get a $1.50 for tall can of beer or $2.25 for a 200 milliliter vodka,” Crawford said. “I have followed them from panhandling right to the liquor store.”
He said those with heroin addictions typically spend between $40 and $50 a day to get high, but he recently met a man panhandling not far from where our reader’s photo was taken who said he’d been addicted to heroin for 25 years. He had a $100-a-day habit.
“I get out my calculator and start doing the math. In the beginning he used less, about $40 a day, but in the past 25 years he’d spent (more than) $900,000 on heroin,” Crawford said. “He was just as shocked as I was; he had no clue he’d spent almost $1 million on his addiction.”
Crawford said he met a man at the Crossroads Shopping Center on Carpenter Road who said he makes $300 to $400 a day panhandling for about 10 hours.
So the solution is, don’t give them any money, right?
Wrong, according to one professor and another lecturer who are naively suggesting we encourage what they call “successful panhandling,” (What the hell?) by issuing credentials to the beggars.
Even scarier is that there are people in power who will listen to their nonsense.
The details and wacky arguments are here.