Raleigh cracks down on panhandlers

December 28, 2011 1:36:42 PM PST
Police continued a crackdown on panhandlers this week - sending eight more people to jail for allegedly begging without a permit. The arrests bring the total for 2011 to more than 400. That's a five-year high.

The city says enforcing panhandling laws is a public safety issue.

Three of the people arrested this week were picked up at the I-440 exit ramp at Hammond Road - a busy intersection.

"It's a traffic problem. Especially if you stop somebody and they're holding everybody up, that causes what you call road rage. So I can understand the police concern," offered Fred Hodges who lives in the area.

But some say the panhandlers are just trying to get money to survive - especially in the current economy.

The city requires panhandlers to have a permit and sets restrictions on where they can beg and when.

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