City, Police and Private Sector Launch Panhandling Strategy to Educate, Enforce and Redirect Giving
Give Change That Makes Sense is the tagline of the three-tiered strategic campaign to address aggressive panhandling throughout the city of Atlanta with focus in the Downtown area, and it will launch today by Central Atlanta Progress (CAP), Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), the Mayor’s office, the Atlanta Police Department (APD) and other public certified law enforcement jurisdictions with full participation of the private sector.
The goal of this comprehensive campaign is to convince residents, employees, customers, students and visitors that giving money to panhandlers is not an authentic act of charity, and to make panhandlers aware that their actions are against the law. According to Greg Giornelli, City of Atlanta Chief Operating Officer, the strategy evolved from a public safety report recently completed by CAP and the ACVB, which consequently resulted in rounds of meetings with city personnel, APD, and the private business owners and hospitality officials.
The strategy calls for:
- Stepped-up enforcement/interaction/intervention – At the public level (APD and other sworn police jurisdictions) and private level (private business security, hired off-duty police and the Downtown Ambassador Force)
- Education/supply-demand management – Urging visitors, conventioneers, residents, students, and employees, through tailored information campaigns, that giving to panhandlers is counterproductive; and further, to educate the panhandlers that it is against the law to verbally solicit money in the“Downtown Tourist Triangle” and after dark throughout the City, as defined by the existing commercial solicitation ordinance
- Directed giving/homeless services – Coordination of convenient avenues where those who wish to give can do so efficiently by giving those in need directions to service providers who can assist