Friday, May 24, 2013
Giving Money to Panhandlers Will Cost Anchorage Drivers
Anchorage police are giving out warnings to drivers who give handouts to panhandlers but this weekend you'll be fined.
Today, Anchorage police began handing out warnings to drivers across the community for giving handouts to panhandlers.
The Sullivan administration along with several social service organizations re-launched a campaign Wednesday called “Change for the Better,” which is intended to help reduce panhandlers across the city by targeting drivers who give handouts while stopped at a traffic light.
The ordinance was created over six years ago and now Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is looking to enforce it in full force starting this weekend.
“I don’t think there was the will before to enforce the ordinance, under this administration there is that will,” he said “We will make sure we have a true comprehensive campaign, not just nibble at the problem, but do our best to eliminate the problem.”
The ordinance is meant to increase public safety for both drivers and pedestrians.
“I have responded to accidents from panhandlers that have gotten hit,” said Anchorage Police Officer Nate Mitchell.
But some drivers said they are being unfairly targeted.
“I don’t think it’s right to fine the driver for that. I think the panhandler should get the fine, if he’s not a licensed panhandler,” said Mikki Palkovitch, an Anchorage driver.
And for the homeless, including Dwight Milligrock, asking for money will become a greater challenge.
“It’s going to be a little tougher, have to… I don’t know, work,” he said.
Starting this Saturday, drivers who give handouts to panhandlers will be fined $50 for the first offense, $100 for a second offense and $300 for a third offense.