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

3 years 7 months 2 weeks ago November 09, 2013 Nov 9, 2013 Saturday, November 09 2013 Saturday, November 09, 2013 10:08:00 PM CST 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
COLUMBIA – The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri serves 32 counties per year, but seasonal challenges may make... More >>
8 minutes ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 1:49:47 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri NAACP is issuing an advisory telling travelers to be careful while in the state... More >>
22 minutes ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 1:36:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Sometimes we feel like we just need some assistance to gain our competitive edge, right? We are training... More >>
1 hour ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 12:55:00 PM CDT in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled that churches have the same right as other charitable groups to seek... More >>
4 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 9:26:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Confederate monument will be removed by Friday from a St. Louis park under a deal... More >>
4 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 9:16:00 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Roughly 200 law enforcers including the FBI have searched the county jail in Kansas City,... More >>
5 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 8:35:28 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Westlake Ace Hardwares throughout Missouri are collecting donations from customers to purchase fans. Those fans then go... More >>
6 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 7:21:00 AM CDT in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Before the Supreme Court justices begin their long summer break, they're poised to act on the Trump... More >>
9 hours ago June 26, 2017 Jun 26, 2017 Monday, June 26 2017 Monday, June 26, 2017 4:45:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The congregation at the First Church of God in Jefferson City was treated to a unique experience... More >>
20 hours ago June 25, 2017 Jun 25, 2017 Sunday, June 25 2017 Sunday, June 25, 2017 4:59:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The number of Missouri House races lacking major-party opposition has been on the rise. ... More >>
21 hours ago June 25, 2017 Jun 25, 2017 Sunday, June 25 2017 Sunday, June 25, 2017 4:47:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A domestic dispute ended with gunshots Saturday night after the Jefferson City Police responded to a weapons... More >>
1 day ago June 25, 2017 Jun 25, 2017 Sunday, June 25 2017 Sunday, June 25, 2017 1:53:00 PM CDT in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — Missouri Western State University is closing the oldest residence hall on campus. The St. Joseph... More >>
1 day ago June 25, 2017 Jun 25, 2017 Sunday, June 25 2017 Sunday, June 25, 2017 12:48:00 PM CDT in News
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A northwestern Missouri boy with a rare genetic disorder has fulfilled his dream of being... More >>
1 day ago June 25, 2017 Jun 25, 2017 Sunday, June 25 2017 Sunday, June 25, 2017 12:40:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – The Strengthening and Conditioning Factory is hosting a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network on Sunday. The... More >>
1 day ago June 25, 2017 Jun 25, 2017 Sunday, June 25 2017 Sunday, June 25, 2017 6:11:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Four people made it out safely of a house on Rosemary Lane in Columbia Saturday morning after a... More >>
1 day ago June 24, 2017 Jun 24, 2017 Saturday, June 24 2017 Saturday, June 24, 2017 7:41:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police responded to shots heard at the 800 block of Spencer Avenue on Saturday just before 5:00... More >>
1 day ago June 24, 2017 Jun 24, 2017 Saturday, June 24 2017 Saturday, June 24, 2017 5:53:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Cheerleaders rolled up their sleeves and got dirty while washing cars Saturday as athletes at Capitol City... More >>
1 day ago June 24, 2017 Jun 24, 2017 Saturday, June 24 2017 Saturday, June 24, 2017 3:51:00 PM CDT in News
FULTON - A man was taken into custody and charged Friday night after leading authorities on a chase through the... More >>
1 day ago June 24, 2017 Jun 24, 2017 Saturday, June 24 2017 Saturday, June 24, 2017 3:51:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 71°
2pm 78°
3pm 78°
4pm 78°
5pm 77°

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
Judge Alex
2:30p
Judge Alex

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
American Ninja Warrior
9:00p
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge
7:00p
Supergirl
8:00p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld