Residents Fed Up with Panhandlers, Police Say It's Legal

3 years 11 months 1 week ago Saturday, November 09 2013 Nov 9, 2013 Saturday, November 09, 2013 10:08:00 PM CST November 09, 2013 in News
By: Kelsey Kerwin, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Some downtown residents are fed up with the constant panhandling from Columbia's unsheltered homeless population, but police said those being harassed need to step up and file complaints to help fix the problem.

 Allyson Schwartz used to live downtown in an apartment complex, and said the homeless people made her feel unsafe.

 "Different people would sit outside my apartment complex everyday and ask me for money and it just got worse and worse," Schwartz said. "One day I came home and a guy was peeing in front of my door on the second floor."

 She said she thought the number of homeless people downtown increased over the year she lived there and that she decided to move because of them.

 "I was paying top dollar to live there and never felt safe," Schwartz said. "I was asked for money everyday and I feel bad, but I don't have extra money to hand out. I finally just decided to move this year."

 Schwartz said she thinks the police should do more to move along the homeless people who congregate in the same places every day.

 "I know the police officers are downtown every day so it just makes you wonder why they don't notice these people in the same place everyday and ask them to move along, " Schwartz said.

 Jason McClintic is a downtown unit officer for the Columbia Police Department and said panhandling itself is not against the law unless it is aggressive or too close to ATMs, banks, or business entrances.

 "Panhandling is not illegal," McClintic said. "Aggressive panhandling is illegal and that's kind of subjective."

 McClintic said officers will arrest the homeless if they're destructing property or trashing areas but said it's hard to arrest them for aggressive panhandling unless the victims file and pursue a complaint.

 "We need cooperation from those being bothered," McClintic said. "If they feel their peace is disturbed enough that they want to take it to court, that's where the arrest comes in."

 McClintic said he advises anyone who feels like the panhandling is aggressive or uncomfortable to contact the police.

 Cyndy Chapman is a Regional Director for Development for the Salvation Army and said the most recent figures of unsheltered homeless people in Boone County are from 2012 and show an increase.

 "The latest figures that have been released show in January of 2012 they found 50 unsheltered homeless people and in July on 2012 there was a little over 100," Chapman said.

 She said Harbor House and other homeless shelters have rules forbidding their residents from panhandling.

 "If you're a shelter resident and you're found to be panhandling, you must leave," Chapman said.

 Chapman said some of the unsheltered homeless people either couldn't or don't want to follow the rules of homeless shelters or prefer to live on the streets.

 "Some of them choose to be unsheltered because they tell us they don't want to follow the rules of the facility and some just like to be able to be free and do whatever they want to," Chapman said.

Residents of Harbor House must follow rules such as a 10 p.m. curfew, not starting fights, visiting your case manager regularly, actively looking for a job, doing community service hours if they cannot work and must remain sober.

Harbor House is currently full but refers anyone needing assistance to other area shelters.

More News

Grid
List
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A jazz museum that's plagued by operating losses and bounced checks to musicians could be headed... More >>
55 minutes ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 12:39:06 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Relatives of man who died at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility are alleging that a fungus infected... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 10:55:02 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A 21-year-old man faces a handful of charges for allegedly stealing from a church and also stealing... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 10:47:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Two felons from Columbia were charged in federal court with illegally having guns and ammunition. Ladame Smith... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 10:19:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge is hearing from police and St. Louis protesters before deciding whether to grant... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 9:57:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A man received life-threatening injuries from an apartment fire early Friday morning. Columbia firefighters arrived at 18... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 9:13:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities have found the body of a man who had been shot in the basement of... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 8:54:45 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man on Thursday on suspicion of hitting a woman after she wouldn't let him see... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 8:48:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a woman has been shot while attending a candlelight vigil for a slain man... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 7:58:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - MU has parted ways with longtime basketball radio analyst Gary Link. Link had been the team's color commentator... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 5:13:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri kicked off it’s 106 th Homecoming Weekend on Friday. It’s a weekend full of... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:39:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUBMIA – The Columbia Parks and Recreation Commission held a meeting Thursday night to recommend approval of possible changes to... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 1:20:00 AM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri banned smoking on campus in 2013, but after issues with compliance over the past... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 10:29:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
FULTON- Fulton Medical Center is getting a new name along with its new owner. It will soon be called... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 10:10:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri video contest is promoting drug-free lives and giving high school students a chance to win... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 7:49:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education met Thursday and unanimously decided to vote 'no' on The Broadway Columbia's tax... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 7:13:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Elm Street will open on Friday after five months of construction. Patricia Hayles with Columbia Sewer Utility said... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:59:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that public defenders may not turn away clients without first getting permission... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:37:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 69°
2pm 71°
3pm 73°
4pm 73°
5pm 75°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

1:00p
Days of Our Lives
2:00p
The Dr. Oz Show
3:00p
Dr. Phil
1:00p
Maury
2:00p
Maury
3:00p
The Robert Irvine Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
8:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
8:00p
Jane the Virgin
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld