MARTINEZ (KCBS) – The Martinez City Council has responded to complaints by merchants and residents about the number of people panhandling at shopping centers and intersections by banning aggressive panhandling within city limits.

Standing with an outstretched hand and asking for money is still allowed, but anyone deemed by authorities to be acting aggressively can be subject to citation and, if he or she persists, jail time.

The city ordinance defines aggressive panhandling as any behavior that creates a reasonable fear for one’s personal safety.

KCBS’ Bob Butler Reports:

“There seems to be a lot of panhandling lately, but lately it’s become more and more aggressive,” confirmed councilwoman Janet Kennedy. “And people have been afraid.”

“When they come sneak up behind you, it’s not good,” added Veronica, a resident who declined to give her last name. “Just being really aggressive about it. Trying to take whatever money they can get. If you don’t give it to them they want to grab your purse, it’s ridiculous.”

The recently-passed ordinance also prohibits any panhandling within 10 ft. of intersections and highway on and off-ramps.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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