Monday, July 10, 2006

One Year of Panhandling Law in Cleveland

Panhandling Law Results

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless filed an open records request to look at the first year of the Cleveland panhandling ordinance. Here are the results. We will have a more detailed look in the next Grapevine.

From July 2005 when the ordinance was passed until December 31, 2005, the City Police issued 9 tickets. In the second six months (January 2006-June 2006), they issued 62 tickets for aggressive solicitation or asking for money in the wrong place. 65 different people got tickets of the 71 total tickets issued, so only a few were repeat offenders. The most aggressive panhandler in the City of Cleveland over the last year was Kenneth Tate with three tickets. He actually was responsible for 22% of the tickets in 2005 with two, then another one in 2006.

It seems that if your name is Brooks or Jones you tend to be aggressive when you ask for money with 3 different people named Brooks and three different Joneses receiving tickets.

The worst two day period to be a panhandler was May 11 and 12, Thursday and Friday, when 5 tickets were issued to five different people.

The worst month to be a panhandler was April 2006 when 27% of all the tickets were issued with April 22-26 Friday to Wednesday the worst week of the year.

The most bizarre and most likely made up name for an aggressive panhandler was Calvin Myhand Jr. who received two tickets. Also, a patriot who has his own beer, Sam Adams, was given a ticket for his aggressive behavior--TWICE.

We are still waiting from the Courts to see what the disposition of all these tickets have been. Were these guys jailed? Did they pay their fines? We will see, and report on this when we get that information.

Do you feel safer in the Downtown? Are the panhandlers that you meet nicer since the ordinance went into effect? When this ordinance was debated in City Council, Ward 21 (Lakewood Lite) Councilman Mike Dolan said that his wife was afraid to come Downtown because of the panhandlers. We need to ask our good friend Mike if his wife has visited the center of her City in the last year.

The most surprising part of all of this information is that the Wolstein Group did not receive one aggressive panhandling ticket over the last year. They have gone to extremes to take the East Bank of the Flats, and have not received one aggressive solicitation ticket. No justice.

The Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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