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

3 years 6 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
CLAYTON (AP) — A St. Louis-area woman convicted in March of secretly poisoning her son with prescription medications has been... More >>
30 minutes ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 3:13:42 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY- A 16-year-old has been detained following the April murder of 63-year-old Jerry Robertson of Jefferson City. In... More >>
31 minutes ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 3:12:00 PM CDT in News
ST. CHARLES - A judge declared a mistrial in the case against Serghei Comerzan Friday afternoon. Jurors were not able... More >>
1 hour ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 2:04:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A 4-year-old child was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries after a fire at a home on... More >>
2 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 1:20:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY - Boone County deputies served a search warrant at 507 N. Garth Avenue in Columbia as the result... More >>
3 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 12:28:00 PM CDT in News
PLATTE COUNTY - Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against a 25-year-old northwest Missouri man if he is convicted... More >>
4 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 11:09:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Police have made an arrest in the investigation of a suspicious death in April. A 16-year-old... More >>
5 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 10:15:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Fire Department says it rescued a man after he became trapped between a... More >>
7 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 7:55:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — A Cape Girardeau institute that helps autistic people will remain open despite losing its state funding.... More >>
8 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 7:26:35 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Saint Louis University officials say no one was injured when a fire broke out at a... More >>
8 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 6:56:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation was preparing Friday for a weekend of heavy travel. AAA predicted... More >>
11 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 4:09:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
HOLTS SUMMIT - Callaway County Sheriff Deputies arrested two men after deputies found meth, marijuana and a firearm in their... More >>
16 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:36:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Eric Greitens called for the special legislative session on Monday, and it’s costing taxpayers thousands of... More >>
18 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 8:51:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police are investigating whether a man who stole a pickup truck after killing a woman and... More >>
20 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 7:09:45 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts on Tuesday could decrease funding for food stamps by nearly $200 billion... More >>
21 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 6:38:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Pizza Tree, a local restaurant in Columbia, is participating in a national campaign that works with the non-profit... More >>
22 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 5:17:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A preliminary assessment has found about $86 million of damage and costs from recent flooding and... More >>
22 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 5:00:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man could face up to a year in prison after admitting that he... More >>
23 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 4:28:01 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 77°
4pm 79°
5pm 78°
6pm 79°
7pm 79°

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
First Dates
8:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld