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

3 years 3 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
Embed Code Copied

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
JEFFERSON CITY - Up to 140 J.C. Penney stores across the country will close, the chain announced Friday. The... More >>
55 minutes ago February 24, 2017 Feb 24, 2017 Friday, February 24 2017 Friday, February 24, 2017 2:52:00 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — For the third time since 2009, a St. Louis family is dealing with the loss of... More >>
56 minutes ago February 24, 2017 Feb 24, 2017 Friday, February 24 2017 Friday, February 24, 2017 2:51:00 PM CST in News
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — Federal investigators have ruled that the fire that destroyed a suburban St. Louis country club... More >>
1 hour ago February 24, 2017 Feb 24, 2017 Friday, February 24 2017 Friday, February 24, 2017 2:40:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri has approved more than $54,000 for remodeling the Capitol office of new Lt. Gov. Mike... More >>
2 hours ago February 24, 2017 Feb 24, 2017 Friday, February 24 2017 Friday, February 24, 2017 1:17:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed two former Missouri senators and the new Department of Revenue director... More >>
4 hours ago February 24, 2017 Feb 24, 2017 Friday, February 24 2017 Friday, February 24, 2017 11:46:08 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A streetcar that will operate in the Loop area of St. Louis and adjoining University City... More >>
7 hours ago February 24, 2017 Feb 24, 2017 Friday, February 24 2017 Friday, February 24, 2017 7:49:51 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - When someone overdoses on heroin or another opioid, the drug slows down their central nervous system until they... More >>
9 hours ago February 24, 2017 Feb 24, 2017 Friday, February 24 2017 Friday, February 24, 2017 6:02:00 AM CST in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - A Moberly woman was charged Tuesday in Boone County for abusing a 12-year-old Columbia boy. Stacey Robertson,... More >>
17 hours ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 10:23:00 PM CST in News
MONITEAU COUNTY – The Moniteau County Sheriff's Office arrested 10 people during a drug bust Wednesday. The sheriff's office... More >>
19 hours ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 8:19:00 PM CST in News
WENTZVILLE (AP) — Police in the east ern Missouri to wn of Wentzville are investigating after a woman working inside... More >>
20 hours ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 7:23:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA – Plato’s Closet opened a newly renovated store Thursday to give mid-Missouri teens and young adults in poverty affordable,... More >>
20 hours ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 6:53:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Gov. Eric Greitens plans to put $11 million back into school transportation and $41 million back into home... More >>
21 hours ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 6:44:00 PM CST in News
NEW FRANKLIN - President Donald Trump reversed President Barack Obama's directive on transgender students being able to use the bathroom... More >>
21 hours ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 6:36:00 PM CST in News
FULTON - Drive down memory lane to Fulton's Auto World Museum and transport yourself through the decades. Bill Backer,... More >>
23 hours ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 4:07:47 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri House members have passed a bill to reduce the duration of state jobless benefits to... More >>
23 hours ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:51:43 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia man accused of plotting a terror attack with people he believed were members of ISIS was... More >>
1 day ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:47:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A new ordinance in St. Louis prohibits discrimination based on "reproductive health decisions." It's an effort... More >>
1 day ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:47:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The investigatory subcommittee created to examine harassment and hostile working conditions in Missouri’s prisons heard from two... More >>
1 day ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:45:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 47°
4pm 45°
5pm 44°
6pm 42°
7pm 40°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

3:00p
Dr. Phil
4:00p
Jeopardy!
4:30p
Jeopardy!
3:00p
The Robert Irvine Show
4:00p
Cops Reloaded
4:30p
The Cleveland Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Grimm
8:00p
Emerald City
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
The Vampire Diaries
8:00p
Reign
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld