Aggressive Panhandling & Solicitation
—It’s a Crime and You Can Help!
Panhandling is a growing social and public safety concern across the country. But dealing with panhandlers can be challenging. In response to resident concerns, the City of Minneapolis has strengthened the panhandling/solicitation ordinance to specifically address aggressive panhandling.
Whats the difference between solicitation or panhandling and aggressive panhandling?
Many panhandlers passively ask for money or hold a sign. Others are much more aggressive, making loud, sometimes repeated demands and somepanhandlers choose to solicit in places that are particularly intimidating such as near ATM machines, in a restroom or near your car on the road. This is aggressive panhandling and in Minneapolis it is against the law. You can take action, both to stop the crime and to make a real difference to help people in need.
Minneapolis City Ordinance on Aggressive Solicitation
Minneapolis City Ordinance 385.60 defines Aggressive Solicitation as:
Verbal requests for money or an item or offering an item or service of little value for a donation in the following locations:
- Within 10 feet in any direction from a crosswalk
- Public transportation vehicle or facility
- On any park land, playground or public entertainment venue, including within 50 feet of entry or exits
- Bus or Light Rail stop or shelter
- Parked/stopped vehicle
- Sidewalk café
- Entrance of commercial or government building
- Within 80 feet in any direction from an ATM or financial institution (previous distance was 20 feet)
- At or within 10 feet of gas station, liquor store, or convenience store property
And in the following way:
- Involving physical contact
- Blocking path/entrance
- Following a person who said "no" to ask again
- Using obscene/profane/abusive language
- Creating fear of bodily harm
- Threatening criminal act upon property
- Intimidating to person
- While under influence of alcohol or drugs
- Soliciting in a group of two or more
- Soliciting after sunset or before sunrise
If you are confronted by an aggressive panhandler, what should you do?
- Call 9-1-1, tell a cop
- Don't give money to panhandlers: Politely say "no" – Not all panhandlers are homeless – many may make up stories to get money to use for drugs or alcohol; when you take out your wallet or purse, you’re more likely to be a victim of a crime
- Give money where it will make a difference – to a charity that helps people in need.
For more information: Minneapolis Safe Zone or call 311.
Remember, aggressive panhandling does NOT include:
standing passively, sitting or performance art or a sign or other indication that a donation is being sought, without any vocal request other than in response to an inquiry by another person.
Last updated Apr. 25, 2012