MyHalifaxCa – Panhandlers

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Panhandling … a profile

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What is panhandling?

The biggest misconception about panhandlers is that they are homeless. In fact, the vast majority of panhandlers are NOT homeless, and the vast majority of homeless do NOT panhandle. Panhandlers are strangers that approach you on the street to hustle you for money, which will most likely be used to buy drugs or alcohol.

It is important to note that street vendors, outdoor performers and other people providing a legitimate service with a valid permit are not panhandlers.

What is aggressive panhandling?

Panhandling is considered aggressive when carried out in the following ways:

  • At any taxi, train or bus stop.
  • In any public transportation vehicle or facility including loading areas
  • In any vehicle on the street
  • On private property unless the owner or occupant has granted permission
  • By using profane or abusive language, during the solicitation or after a refusal
  • In a group of two or more persons
  • In a manner which could be perceived as a threat
  • By intimidating or obstructing pedestrian or vehicular traffic
  • By assaulting or aggressively begging, including any physical touching
  • When using false or misleading solicitations

Who Gives to Panhandlers?

Although panhandlers try to cultivate regular donors, there is not a specific group of people that are always targeted for donations. Research has identified some of the persons commonly associated with panhandler requests; they are given in the table below.

Giver                        Why They Give
College Students Students are generally more sympathetic towards panhandlers
Male-Female Couples Male generally believes that by giving to panhandler he will be seen as compassionate by the female
Women Targeted more often than men, but women that are alone are not always approached because panhandlers understand they may fear being robbed
Tourists/ Conventioneers This group is already in a spending money state of mind
Diners/Grocery Shoppers Given the setting, diners and shoppers are aware of the economic contrast that exists between themselves and the panhandler by their ability to buy items the panhandler

SOURCE: Scott, 2003

Written by lesmuise

October 27, 2008 at 10:35 pm

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