Comments about ‘Concrete barriers erected in American Fork to deter panhandlers’

Return to article »

Published: Monday, May 6 2013 5:45 p.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Way of the Warrior

I've noticed that installing round-a-bouts at intersections also works as a good deterrent for panhandling.

Anti Bush-Obama
Washington, DC

What a cold hearted thing to do. Panhandlers have a right to panhandle period.

Sugar City, ID

Re. Anti Bush-Obama
"What a cold hearted thing to do. Panhandlers have a right to panhandle period."

If what they are doing is a safety hazard, then they should be prevented from doing so. It is not cold hearted, just wise. I saw a lot of these middle-of-the-road panhandlers in California, and they did cause traffic problems. Do we wait until someone is killed or injured before taking action. There are plenty of places these people can go to get food, etc. if that's what they need.

American Fork, UT

It's not cold hearted. There are a lot of resources that people can use. They don't seem to be in too much need when they stand there with their "cold and hungry sign" while they talk on their cell phones.

Mesa, AZ

I'm not sure the panhandlers want food or shelter, or even a job. Panhandling apparently is a job, a very lucrative job, especially in a community that is taught to not judge, but be generous to those in need. These folks are probably making a couple hundred dollars on a good day, tax free. It's easy money preying on the generosity of others, something for nothing.

Indeed, it's a frustrating time for those out of work over a long period of time, stripped of dignity and self- worth, or perhaps enchained by addiction, to a point that they will stand all day in traffic to earn their income.

As long as people keep the revenue stream alive, they will be there to collect it.

Someone needs to legislate a variation of the no loitering law, so these folks can be removed from our dangerous intersections, and steered to shelters and employment resource centers, where they can seek to better their situations.

Brer Rabbit
Spanish Fork, UT

If you want to increase bad behavior all you have to do is reward it. In the past decade we saw very little begging in Utah except for down town SLC. Now it is all along the Wasatch Front, and will only get worse until winter when they move back to warmer climates. People can give if they want, but it will only make the situation worse, and be of little help to those in need. There are plenty of local organizations that actually help those in need. Give to them, and give generously.

I know it. I Live it. I Love it.
Salt Lake City, UT

Money is power. A gun is power.

Giving a gun to a man says nothing about what he'll do with it. Giving a gun to someone just because they beg is irresponsible.

If you prefer, take someone grocery shipping. If you prefer to be safer, point them to a facility for help and serve such facilities when you can.

But just giving someone money without helping them use it wisely is like giving a drug addict money for rehab and trusting them to spend it wisely. I believe trust is earned. It's fine if you don't, but the record shows that trusting drug addicts doesn't usually have positive results.

The effective thing to do is to serve, not to give more power to enable their problems then walk away. Irresponsible charity isn't charity, it's harm. The charitable branches of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have proven this time and time again: Prudent help is best. It's never popular, especially with those asking for help. But it works.

Maybe we ought to teach others to rethink the popular definition of charity if we are to help them be self sufficient.

C Smith 4 Utah

I was waiting for my daughter who was shopping in a store in this area of American Fork. As she was getting in the car, a panhandler came and stood by the business in front of us. After he took out his smartphone he looked around, folded his cardboard sign in half, and then tucked it under his coat.

My daughter and I commented that here he was panhandling because he was in dire straits, and yet he had a nicer phone than either of us. The funniest part was that he was standing right by the Verizon Wireless store when he did it.

Also, there are multiple "Hiring Now" signs by businesses in that same area.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

Those who commented above forgot to mention all the panhandlers were driving Cadillacs.

I really like how "I know it. I Live it. I Love it." brought guns into the narrative. I had a feeling someone would declare that lots and lots of guns would solve all the problems felt by both citizens and panhandlers.

American Fork, UT

I got accosted by one of these guys about a week ago. I had the truck and a loaded trailer, and I told dude to get in. Surprisingly, he did, I guess thinking I'd give him money. I moved onward, and he asked where we were going. "Williston, North Dakota", I answered truthfully. "I know a guy there who will hire you. He needs lots of help. Good pay". Buddy bailed at the next light like you wouldn't believe. My offer was real, there's work out there. But it's really work. I didn't think this guy wanted a hand up. Most of them don't. But that's what I had to offer. Life, dignity, a chance to move ahead. But I didn't have a handout for him. Unfortunately, that's all he wanted.

The Deuce
Livermore, CA

My suggestion is to offer to take them to a job to actually work doing something for the money. See how quickly they will leave. For many this is a business. It is often difficult to tell the difference from the ones that actually need the help. That is why I suggest offering them work for pay to see how serious they are.

jim l
West Jordan, UT

Up here in slc i go by an intersection almost daily where the panhandlers stand. Not more than 50 yards away there are 2 signs for help wanted. Tired of the begging.

Auckland NZ, 00

“Citizens don't like being stuck at a light and have someone approach them,” said city administrator Craig Whitehead, “and they have had some very aggressive ones who have come up and looked in the window.”

It may also be true that citizens don't like being out of work, hungry, trying to care for young children or being forced to beg for assistance that most other wealthy nations provide as a matter of social responsiblity. This group seems to have escaped Mr Whitehead's expressed concern for his fellow citizens, or "brothers" as they are sometimes called. When i think of the sayings and teachings of Jesus in the legendary history of Christianity, i think of him joining the panhandlers on the far side of the concrete barriers raised in this town to protect some citizens, some brothers and sisters, from having to see visible signs of the inadequacies of a capitalist economy as managed in the United States. Makes me think, too, of Woody Guthrie's Depression-era song about avoiding California if you don't have the dough-re-mi.

Wonder where these beggars park their Caddies while raking in the big money?

Kearns, UT

Since cities can't stop anyone from panhandling, why don't cities make it a crime to give money to panhandlers?

A city can make it a crime to put anything out of a car window with the exceptions of drive up windows/tellers and when pulled over by police.

The ticket can be for blocking an intersection, disrupting traffic and encouraging dangerous activities.

Police could do stings and give people tickets when they are handed money.

This type of law is legal as it would be classified under littering. Just because someone is there to pick up what you through out doesn't mean it is legal to through it out.

As being homeless can be a choice, let's help encourage them by not enabling them.

Sure, the panhandlers can sue for being told they can't panhandle but they can't sue when it is against the law to give them money as that is a choice not a requirement.

Harwich, MA

Some of you are cold hearted people.
Many of these "panhandlers" are no different than you. Life has played them a bad hand and they're doing nothing that not a one of you would do were you in a similar situation. No place to go, to sleep, nothing to eat, no visible future for them. Seriously, does your religious background really tell you to react they way I'm reading?
Stop and give them $20.00. Everyone one of you in American Fork. Make a difference on someones life. You'll be surprised how good it feels.
Safety hazard.....sheesshhhhh.

Virginia Beach, VA

This is one of those articles with good points, such as errecting barriers to open up traffic. And bad points, such as the Mayor of American Fork wishing away panhandlers from his city, and pawning them off to local Bishops and charities. As for those in need, I tried to follow my inner voice and help those who "really" need help. Sometimes it's passing them some money, sometimes bringing them food if there closeby my home. However, there are those who are professional pandhandlers. The past few summers there's been a husband and wife team working our local area with there hands heldout, and they can be found in different parts of the city working a fresh area. The inner voice always say's ignore them, and they look too good for the part.

Grantsville, UT

Money to panhandlers is almost always facilitating some sort of substance addiction rather than truly helping them dig out of their predicament. Some people are addicted to "freebies"--maybe they should use their time to look for a job.

Give money to the homeless shelters, or buy food gift cards and have some on hand to give out to those who you deem as truly indigent. The rest are just scamming you.

concerned grandma
Saratoga Springs, UT

For a lot of panhandlers this is their "job". They put on the costume each morning and by the end of the day have racked in probably more than you and I made that day. Some of them are very wealthy.

Lehi, UT

Dennis -- Some of you people are cold hearted.

I suspect that many who are opposed to panhandling -- as am I -- give generously to charities that provide services to people in need. That is hardly cold hearted. What is cold hearted is to encourage behavior that does nothing to benefit the individual or society. It's tough to ignore them; but, it is the right thing to do.

Ironically, as I was driving by that same location with my wife on Saturday, I commented how much of a safety issue I felt it was. The island on which they stood could not be more than two feet wide. When the light is green, traffic flows heavily and rapidly through the intersection. How tragic it would be if if one of those beggers stumbled and fell off the island in front of an innocent driver and a life was taken. What if the car had small children in it as many do at that intersection.

Those of you who are so "noble", why don't you give up your job to a begger so they won't have to beg.

Ogden, UT

Pan handling is nothing more, or less, than a business. Their product is you feeling good about yourself, and the beauty of it is that you can pay as much as you want for that product. I have no need to purchase from them. I get mine from donating to many other charities. They should be required to purchase and maintain a panhandlers licence and adhear to a code of conduct. Those are things that the city can do, legally.

Back in the 70s and 80s, my sister in law was a successful legal assitant in San Francisco. She earned what would be the equivelent of $80.00 per hour in today's money. However, when her spending money got low, she would put on some scruffy clothing, get her cardboard sign, and head for Goden Gate Park, where she would make more money per hour than working, all tax free. She didn't do it every day, but was suprised at how easy it was.

If it makes you feel good, give them money.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments