County could crackdown on panhandling in Henrico’s West End

Posted at 2:58 PM, Oct 23, 2012

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – After listening to complaints from residents in Henrico County’s West End,  officials could vote Tuesday to close a loophole to end panhandling.

The current law prohibits panhandlers from soliciting while standing in restricted area, so many of them simply sit down to skirt the law.

The Board of Supervisors have said that panhandling at busy intersections is a safety concern.

“One gentleman actually had a fishing pole so he could sit and actually get a donation without ever leaving a sitting position,” said Henrico County Attorney Joe Rapisarda. “The word standing needs to be taken out of the ordinance.”

However, the American Civil Liberties Union is against the ordinance and released a statement:

“The ACLU continues to have concerns about this ordinance. While localities usually justify these types of ordinances on public safety grounds, we are not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by people panhandling or seeking work in a median strip. Typically the real reason for laws of this sort is to sweep undesirables like homeless people or day laborers under the rug.”

The Henrico Board of Supervisors will hear public comment before voting Tuesday.

Watch CBS 6 News starting at 5 p.m. for the latest developments on this story from Joe St. George. 

What do you think? Should officials try to stop panhandling in the West End? Click the “agree” or disagree” buttons below.