Police regulate aggressive panhandlers in Downtown Chattanooga
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – There have been more complaints about pushy panhandlers in the busy downtown restaurant area lately.
In case you wondered, that is against the law.
Perhaps ‘Tis the Season, but not every body wants to play Santa Claus to total strangers downtown. That’s why we have a city ordinance regulating panhandling in Chattanooga.
One person was arrested 2 days ago for aggressive panhandling near Panera Bread. 45-year-old David Sanderson broke the law and will end up in court.
CPD Lt. Daniel Francis said, “He’s a known panhandler, he’s also been known to drink in public uh, just downtown out in the open, and so he was arrested that day.”
Many people consider panhandlers a nuisance..but there are some strong regulations on the books.
Lt. Francis said, “It’s illegal to aggressively panhandle. They identify aggressive panhandling as intimidating, threatening, touching, blocking someone’s path, while soliciting money or goods from somebody.”
The people who would harass anyone on the street are not just a potential danger, they discourage visitors from out of town, and they threaten the livelihood of many businesses. In Chattanooga the ordinance lays out specific areas where they cannot assemble.
Francis explains, “The city ordinance specifically bans panhandling uh, in a lot of the downtown areas. Walnut street bridge, Miller Park, Miller Plaza, Jack’s Alley, around the Aquarium, and several other places.”
There’s been two armed robberies in the popular downtown areas lately, one thief was caught almost immediately, the other is still on the loose.
Police are asking that anyone who has information about aggressive panhandlers, and certainly the robber, is asked to call the police department.