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Video: Orlando officials uncertain if new rules have reduced aggressive panhandling

September 25, 2019


INUIT 6:00, CITY LEADERS ARE TAKEN NEW APPROACH AT DEALING WITH AGGRESSIVE PANHANDLERS. LAST SUMMER, THE CITY REVISE THE CODE TO CHANGE WHERE PANHANDLERS COULD ASK FOR MONEY. CHANNEL NINES STEVE BARRETT JOINS US A DOWNTOWN. YOU EXPERIENCED AGGRESSIVE PANHANDLERS THIS WEEK. Reporter: YES, IF HE’S BEEN A TIME DOWNTOWN, YOU HAVE TO BASICALLY NOTICE IT. LAST NIGHT, WITHIN 20 MINUTES, TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE APPROACHED ME AS I SAT AT A RESTAURANT LIKE THESE OVER HERE. THEY DID NOT ASK FOR MONEY, BUT DEMANDED IT. THAT’S THE TYPE OF AGGRESSION THAT THE CITY IS TRY TO GET A HANDLE ON. THEY ARE FINDING THAT THERE ARE NOT QUICK ANSWERS. ON ANY GIVEN DAY IN ORLANDO, THREE OR FOUR PEOPLE END UP AT THE ORANGE COUNTY JAIL FOR VIOLATING PANHANDLING RULES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY. DEREK ELAM HAS BEEN LIVING ON THE STREETS FOR ABOUT TWO DECADES. HE AGREES THAT HANDOUTS DO NOT SOLVE ANYTHING. YOU CAN GIVE ME ALL THE CLOSE AND THE FOOD, WITHOUT HOUSING, STILL STUCK. Reporter: HE SAYS HE’S POLITE WHEN ASKING FOR THINGS DOWNTOWN. SOME PEOPLE ARE NOT. PEOPLE SAY THAT PANHANDLERS ARE WALKING IN TRAFFIC, OR A APPROACHING DINERS AT RESTAURANTS. PROPERTY MANAGERS HAVE HEARD THE COMPLAINTS FROM HIS CLIENTS. TO MAKE YOU HAVE SOME THAT ARE AGGRESSIVE. THEY WILL COME AND KNOCK ON THE WINDOW. WE’VE HAD SOME THAT HAVE COME INSIDE OF THE BUSINESS. Reporter: THE CITY DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH ARRESTED DATA TO KNOW IF THE PROBLEM IS GETTING BETTER OR WORSE. THEY KNOW THAT ARRESTS ARE NOT THE SOLUTION. IN FACT, SO FAR, THERE ARE NO SOLUTIONS. TO MAGNIFY THE DEFINITIVE ANSWER, I COULD WRITE A BOOK AND MAKE THE BEST SELLER LIST. Reporter: COMMUNITY LEADERS LIKE THOMAS CHAPMAN ARE DOING EDUCATION TO CREATE A CAMPAIGN THAT WILL TARGET THOSE WHO HAND OVER MONEY, OR BY LUNCHES. RIGHT NOW, THERE ARE FEW ANSWERS AND MANY QUESTIONS. WHAT ARE YOU CONTRIBUTING TO WHEN YOU CONTRIBUTE TO IT. Reporter: WE ARE TOLD THAT THE EDUCATION CAMPAIGN WILL TARGET BUSINESSES, RESIDENTS, VISITORS, AND THE PANHANDLERS THEMSELVES. THE RESEARCH IS EXPECTED TO BE DONE BY THE END OF THE SUMMER. THEY WILL ROLLOUT THE EDUCATION CAMPAIGN. YOU SAY THAT ARRESTS ARE BEING MADE. WHAT ARE THE VIOLATIONS UNDER THE NEW ORDINANCE? THERE’S QUITE A LIST OF THEM. A FEW OF THE BIG ONES ARE, YOU CANNOT APPROACH ANYONE AT AN ATM, OR ANYWHERE YOU HAVE A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE LIKE RIGHT HERE WERE SOMEONE WOULD BE SITTING OUTSIDE. YOU CANNOT BE AGGRESSIVE. IF SOMEONE SAYS NO THAT THEY DO NOT WANT TO GIVE YOU MONEY,

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