About The Bay: SF Union Square Panhandlers Aggressive As Ever

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A new program by the San Francisco Police Department aims to crack down on aggressive panhandling in and around Union Square. But it doesn’t appear to be doing much to curb the persistence of those asking shoppers and tourists for a handout.

“Probably been approached 8 or 10 times I would say,” Phil Lucker of Fort Worth, TX, who was visiting San Francisco with his family.

“Really?” asked KCBS’ Mike Sugerman. “How long have you been here?”

“About two hours,” Lucker responded.

“It is terrible,” chimed in a man who calls himself iPadist, a DJ who plays tunes on his iPad in Union Square for tips. He says he works hard for the money, but points out not everybody does.

“And I have my hat, taking tips. A young lady takes out some money so I just grabbed her by her wrist and I didn’t want to hurt her but can you please release the funds please? I’m giving you the clean version of the story,” he explained.

About The Bay – KCBS’ Mike Sugerman reports:

A mobile command center was visible nearby, near the Powell and Market cable car turnaround. The command center is ground zero for Safe Shoppers, launched by SFPD as an extra presence for those buying presents. But the authorities can’t do much about the people asking … and asking … and asking for spare change, Sugerman found out anecdotally as he walked a several block stretch around Union Square one recent evening, observing a dozen people asking for change. Half of them approached Sugerman, too.

Police advise against giving panhandlers money.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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