The Commerce City Council appears poised to ban “very aggressive” panhandling Monday night, June 9.
The council is prepared to amend the city code to pass an ordinance “to regulate begging or soliciting, to place restrictions on such activities, to provide for definitions and for other purposes.”
The council meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Commerce Room of the Commerce Civic Center.
“The police department says they need some assistance in trying to help move some of these folks through town,” explained City Manager Clarence Bryant. “When the economy gets bad, these people come out of the woodwork.”
The ordinance recognizing that “begging or soliciting” is “deemed not unlawful” but it draws the line at the “accosting” of residences — “in such a manner as would cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon his or her person, or upon property in his or her immediate possession.”
Basically, the ordinance would give police the ability to arrest someone who continues to panhandle aggressively after being refused, who attempts to block the passage of the individual being solicited “or otherwise engaging in conduct which could reasonably be construed as intended to compel to force a person to accede to demands.”
The council will also approve its 2008-09 budget, but not before a final work session to be held Thursday at 5 p.m.