How to handle panhandlers

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Warmer weather means you might see more people asking for money on the streets. Panhandling isn’t always illegal. But should you let the police know if it’s happening?

WANE 15’s Sierra Tufts has the answer in a 15FindsOut report.

Cindy M. sent in the question, “Should I be reporting this to the police?” Cindy experienced panhandlers in the parking lots of a Walmart and Meijer.

The Fort Wayne Police Department said when nice weather comes around, panhandlers are more visual. It also said it’s not illegal to panhandle. It becomes illegal to panhandle when they’re in a roadway or intersection.

FWPD said right now it’s seeing a lot of panhandling on private property, what Cindy experienced. The department said it needs a private property owner’s permission to remove panhandlers from the property.

So, should you report it to police? FWPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Sofia Rosales-Scatena has your answer.

“You can. But we will go out there and double check. And sometimes we do have agreements with some of these properties where we’re allowed to take legal action if needed. So, call it in. We’ll definitely check it out…Just make sure your windows are always rolled up. If they approach your car, wave them off. If they don’t wave off, immediately call 911, we’ll come out,” said Sgt. Scatena-Rosales.

WANE 15 did reach out to Meijer about how it handles panhandlers. It said it does not discuss safety protocols.

Sgt. Scatena-Rosales did mention there is help out there for panhandlers. She said the Rescue Mission is a great resource. You can learn more about it here.

As always, you can send your questions for WANE 15 to find out through our ReportIt feature. Click here to use it.

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