Archive for Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lawrence police advise residents to ignore panhandlers

May 15, 2011


What is aggressive panhandling?

Prohibited under the city’s aggressive panhandling ordinance:

• Blocking the entrance to someone’s vehicle or a building.

• Requesting money after someone has already declined.

• Making threatening gestures or comments.

• Asking for money at a bus stop or on a city bus, at a vehicle stopped in traffic, or within 20 feet of an ATM or bank.

• On private property without consent of the owner.

Colleen Sims says the story is common.

The Lawrence resident gets approached by a woman in the parking lot of a local store. The woman says she’s a victim of domestic violence and asks for money for a bus ticket or gas.

Sims, who’s encountered this several times recently, declines. She’s seen one of the women drive off in a newer car, and she said she’s offended by someone using domestic violence as a pretense for soliciting money.

“It’s more like scamming people,” she said.

Such behavior is illegal under a city ordinance — enacted in July 2006 — outlawing “aggressive panhandling,” because it’s being done on private property, said Jerry Little, Lawrence city prosecutor.

Panhandling in public areas, such as on sidewalks downtown, is legal as long as panhandlers avoid prohibited behavior such as panhandling within 20 feet of an ATM, blocking someone’s path, or using verbal or physical threats.

Rarely do such cases lead to prosecution, and Lawrence Municipal Court hasn’t seen any cases in the past six months, Little said. Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and up to 30 days in jail.

Mike Bodkin, assistant manager at Kohl’s, 3240 Iowa, said the store occasionally gets complaints from customers with stories similar to Sims’. Annoying potential shoppers, panhandling is bad for business, Bodkin said, and his store will send out security when panhandling is reported.

Lawrence Police Sgt. Matt Sarna said police categorize calls about aggressive panhandling as “nuisance calls,” but they don’t have a specific designation for aggressive panhandling. In 2010, Lawrence police handled 476 nuisance calls, which usually spike in the summer months, Sarna said.

Sarna advises people approached by panhandlers on private property to “ignore them, walk away and call the police.”


Cimmy Redmond 2 years, 11 months ago

The husband and I were in Vermont Street BBQ a few years ago. There was a guy with a dog panhandling outside. After someone gave him some money, he came inside, walked up to the bar, and asked the difference between the different tequilas.


oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 11 months ago

What are the regulations for panhandling by the elderly? How much money could one get or several eldery get by standing on street corners with signs? Is it possible to clear $50 a day and where would the best locations be?


Flap Doodle 2 years, 11 months ago

The winner of the today's run-on sentence derby has been identified.


panzermike007 2 years, 11 months ago

Here is the solution. refuse them money and let them get into your face. Laugh at them and when they put their hands on you, deliver a delightful brachial stun, followed by a large dose of pepper spear, and top it off with handcuffs for simple battery!


Multidisciplinary 2 years, 11 months ago

topeka52, I'm not sure if oldbaldguy is aware of what used to be a regular occurance between the two towns. (Both being the closest to each other, and with enough officers to do this)

In case you're wondering, I was TOLD this by a Lawrence police officer in the late 70's, with another sitting right beside him agreeing. In discussing Frank, a well known transcient at the time, they said, we'll pick him up, drop him off in Topeka. Pretty soon Topeka LE would pick up him, drop him off here again.

My words: You might say, it gave both town's citizens equal and fair access to Frank. ;)


goodcountrypeople 2 years, 11 months ago

Panhandlers are emissaries from God! I personally have never met a panhandler, even on the West Coast, who is half as offensive, scary, and aggressive as the native mountain-bred yahoos around Lawrence who approach complete strangers with no hesitation that a complete stranger will not view someone of their obvious ignorance level as God's generous gift of aid and assistance. Ha, thanks, but no thanks, Crackers! Apparently, you think you have the right to grab and molest others, and if they protest, revenge and a mad attack dog mentality are your bywords. Thanks to the local corrupt conflict-of-interest politics, the world is your oyster too.


topeka52 2 years, 11 months ago

Oldbaldguy, Fair enough, you deport your pah-handlers to Topeka, we will send Lawrence our criminals!!!


introspector 2 years, 11 months ago

nobody really needed to tell me to ignore those smelly bums / crack fiends down there mooching change. "support the arts!" they say... smoking crack cocaine is not an art.


oldbaldguy 2 years, 11 months ago

Deportation to Topeka is sounding better and better.


somedude20 2 years, 11 months ago

There was a lady hanging out at Dillons on Mass Friday. She asked for change (must be a democrate) so I had some and gave it to her. When I came out of the store, Ms. Lady was at the window of a car giving money to a dude. Was it drugs? Who knows but it did look that way.


gphawk89 2 years, 11 months ago

I actually fell for the bus ticket scam the first time I heard it. Sounded plausible so I gave away a couple bucks. Then a month later a different person approached me with the same story. Same story, different person each time, three or four more times in the past six months. They really need to coordinate a bit and come up with some new angles. Maybe rotate their stories every couple of months.


greenworld 2 years, 11 months ago

Panhandling is not illegal but panhandling on private property is. Yeah it is true to ignore the people holding the signs or begging and eventully they will go away due to lack of funds. It just makes me wonder how many people feel sorry for them and throw change or bills their way. As long as anybody throws a bone their way they will stick around forever so STOP GIVING THEM MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


smitty 2 years, 11 months ago

The LPD and their new chief, Khatib must be quite concerned about the domestic violence within the department to avoid the subject during Khatib's chat and now this apparent collusion with the JW.

Who made the decision to exclude the divorce leading to a murder by a LE officer?

Who made the decision not to include the story in the on-line version as printed in the hard copy?

Does the JW management, the decision makers, instruct lower management or staffers on who/what information is not printable?

Is the JW's censorship a common practice?


smitty 2 years, 11 months ago

Re: domestic violence, police, and scams in the JW...

Why is the below AP story printed in the hard editon of the JW but is completely absent in the on-line version?

The last sentence is misssing, too.....Vashti Seacat had filed for divorce about two weeks before the fire...... is missing in the hard copy for the JW readers to consume.....

Seacat was a LE trainer in Hutch at the time of the murder, who may well have trained some of the LPD?

Remember Khatib's mantra on transparancy. If the LPD is on the up and up, it doesn't matter.

A link is provided to google to show there are 6 full pages of links that cover this murder without one from the JW...even though the JW did publish a part of the AP story in the hard copy. Here tis....

Kingman, Kan. (AP) _ A south-central Kansas law enforcement officer is charged with first-degree murder and arson in the death of his wife.

Thirty-four-year-old Vashti Seacat was found in her burned-out Kingman home following a suspicious fire April 30.

Thirty-five-year-old Brett Seacat was charged Friday by the attorney general and held in the Kingman County Jail. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

The charges allege Seacat killed his wife and put their two young sons in danger in setting the fire. The Hutchinson News reports authorities aren't commenting further while the investigation continues.

Seacat is a police instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center and a former Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy.

Vashti Seacat had filed for divorce about two weeks before the fire.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

The JW is only adding to the DV by LE by not reporting the facts. Why hide the facts about violent LE? Why drop the fact that Seacat's wife had filed for divorce two weeks earlier?

Here's the facts.....this training officer had DV in his history that his fellow officers would not arrest him for. You see, if an officer is convicted of DV then it is no longer possible to carry a gun legally.

If Seacat's fellow Wichita officers hadn't used the blue wall of silence to cover up the violent history of Seacat, thirty-four-year-old Vashti Seacat, likely would not have been murdered by a state of Kansas LE training officer.

Take note that the charge had to come from the top cop in Kansas in lieu of local LE. ....charged Friday by the attorney general.... LE just doesn't arrest their own for what they arrest others.

The LPD has not had an officer arrested for DV for close to twenty years while stats show up to 40% of LE involved in DV nation wide.

The JW is dead wrong in their policy to hide information that protects the LPD from any possible criticism over no DV arrests in twenty years.

....dead wrong!


Soapbox 2 years, 11 months ago

Anyone on this cloud have spare change?


autie 2 years, 11 months ago

I have a new cardboard sign I use at WalMart on Saturday's. It says, "I have a full time job and own my house. Need money for Gas!"


Scott Newell 2 years, 11 months ago

I was approached late at night at Hy-Vee on 6th by the same North Dakota story woman. Shelter was closed, walked all the way here, needs something to eat until they open, blah blah. I told her no, get into my car and Hunger Strike by Temple of the Dog is playing. I think to myself this must be a sign and turn around to give her some money only to get there just in time to watch her get into a newer model car with the gentleman who obviously dropped her off there! It's too bad people like this ruin it for the people who actually need help.


boothillbilly 2 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence has a lot of panhandlers and a lot of roads in need of repair. Work fixing the road and get a free meal? Either that, or chain gangs. Either way, roads here are awful, and so are the panhandlers. Fix both problems I say.


BlackVelvet 2 years, 11 months ago

Hey panhandlers (bums)...I've got a TASER with your name on it!


orangechubb 2 years, 11 months ago

I gave up smoking and drinking cause I could no longer afford it. Guess what bums, I can not afford to pay for you to smoke and drink either.


kuguardgrl13 2 years, 11 months ago

I've never been approached by panhandlers anywhere other than Mass. I don't give out money, but I enjoy the musicians and comedians. A friend of mine likes to juggle occasionally to help with rent. I'm sympathetic towards the struggling artists, but I generally ignore the bums asking for handouts.


Doppleganger 2 years, 11 months ago

Run a weave pattern through the alley flailing your arms to and fro while screaming bloody murder. It's gauranteed to keep the hoodlums at bay.


gvnobas 2 years, 11 months ago

I used to give out money, cigarettes, food...Now I realize that half of the homeless population here are convicted felons. I distinguish between those who were in jail a few days and people from prison with felony convictions. Next time somebody asks you for something and tries to start a fight, look them up on KASPER- I'll bet they have one or two entries. Could the Lawrence police force do more to monitor the traffic around 9th street? The alleys back there are infested with convicts walking to and fro the liquor store and stealing. I think it's time for us to say that those people in particular are not welcome here. Like I said, this isn't ALL of the homeless population. What do we do fellow Lawrencians?


neolib 2 years, 11 months ago

Dillons, 3000 W 6Th ST. "I just got off the bus, and the guy I was supposed to meet has been deported, and I can't get into the shelter because it's past 8:30. Can you tell me how to get to the shether and 8th and Vermont and can you give me a little cash for something to eat?" She was walking the wrong direction from the bus stop, and the last bus had stopped 13 hours previous. She was faking I'm sure but was shaken, crying and lame in one leg. She did a good enough acting job to earn five bucks.


hitme 2 years, 11 months ago

I was traumatized for several hours in college by Jose Cuervo; I'm still trying to recover those memories. I'd really appreciate it if everyone reading this could spare a few dollars to help me recover from my PTSD (Post Tequila Stress Disorder). Thanks


swampyankee 2 years, 11 months ago

Stay away from panhandlers on private property. panhandlehers on public property are are o.k.


muttonchops 2 years, 11 months ago

A fool and his money are soon parted. Give her your money and prove it.


Cimmy Redmond 2 years, 11 months ago

What about the woman with the baby who hangs out on Mass? Anyone know if she's legit?


Multidisciplinary 2 years, 11 months ago

In KC close to a main road, while sitting in a fast food lot with kids eating, windows rolled up, a man approached our car. He gently placed a note against my window, saying he was a deaf mute, working at a local church to makes ends meet. He needed $2 for bus fare to get (where ever). I know how hard it is for the challenged to make ends meet, but I had some fear/skepticism, so I only rolled down the window a crack, large enough to slip $2 through. He smiled, and nodded thankfully. Then he started to walk away. As some cars came along that road nearby, he hurried up to one, hopped in and off they went. I guess I'll never know if that was a friend who happened along just then, or if it was planned. But I won't be handing out any money again.


akt2 2 years, 11 months ago

I encountered one of the panhandlers a couple months ago. It was in the Walgreen's parking lot at 6th and Kasold. I was still in my car. She pulled up next to me and gave me the domestic violence story. She had a couple of kids in the backseat. I told her no that there were agencies in Lawrence that could help her. I offered to get some phone numbers for her. She declined. At that point she left the parking lot. I've since heard the same scenerio on the scanner a couple of times. Same vehicle description and same story. Based on this it is safe to say that this person doesn't need immediant assistance. She may already be receiving public assistance at some level. This is an easy way to to make extra cash.


pizzapete 2 years, 11 months ago

What if all they're asking for are tax breaks and use of public parking spaces for their business?


Gary Anderson 2 years, 11 months ago

wow...such compassion here this morning...when someone asks me for money, I ask them what they need. If they need money for gas, I offer them the gas. If they need money for food, I offer them the food. I never hand over cash. So far, not one of these panhandlers have taken me up on my offers of gas or food. A couple months ago we heard there was a lady with 3 kids living in the walmart parking lot. We checked it out and it was true. After putting her up in a nice hotel, we put her and her family on a bus to her destination in Minnesota. It's not hard to figure out who needs help and who doesn't. Of course, just because these panhandlers didn't really want the gas or the food...didn't mean they didn't need other types of help.


geekin_topekan 2 years, 11 months ago

"Gimme $5 and I will buy something to eat" (Shame on you)

"Gimme $5,000,000" of public funds and I will create a buncha of jobs" (shame on me)


DeaconBlue 2 years, 11 months ago

"she said she’s offended by someone using domestic violence as a pretense for soliciting money."

I feel the same way about the government panhandlers giving excuses to raise taxes.

"Sarna advises people approached by panhandlers on private property to “ignore them, walk away and call the police.”

Can I use this technique with government panhandlers?


Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 11 months ago

I've been told that panhandling is a rather high paying job if you have the requisite skills.

But, you do need to be wearing an appropriate wardrobe.


Multidisciplinary 2 years, 11 months ago

Well what do you know, equalaccessprivacy/begin60 spawned, and it's a familial syndrome.


goodcountrypeople 2 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence is chock full of aggressive solicitors, and the scariest ones are those ignorant to think a complete stranger would want anything to do them, let alone trust them enough to welcome them into their lives. Bad people readers! Anyone half aware realizes that some people do not want and should not have to deal with backwoods strangers getting overly personal on the public streets.Predatory rubes!


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