The Cedar Rapids City Council’s Public Safety Committee has sent to the full council a proposed new ordinance that would outlaw “aggressive” panhandlers and those who try to collect donations at intersections, on highway ramps and in medians.
City Council member Justin Shields, the committee’s chairman, said Tuesday he supported a tougher panhandling ordinance, emphasizing, “We have to do something about it.”
Shields said the Police Department has reported an increase in reports of aggressive panhandlers in downtown Cedar Rapids, and he said he has seen more panhandlers on ramps along Interstate 380 recently.
“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” he said.
The Police Department has pushed for the new ordinance after receiving citizen complaints about “professional panhandlers,” who the department says often intimidate pedestrians and motorists. Those at intersections and highway ramps become a public safety hazard, the Police Department has said.
What do you think of the proposal? Is it the best way to deal with panhandling in Cedar Rapids?