Police in Brentwood are encouraging residents not to give money to panhandlers amidst a growing number of complaints about aggressive panhandling in the city. In a statement posted on the Brentwood Police Officers Association’s Facebook page, police urged residents to donate to local charities rather than giving money to panhandlers. Police cited a recent call in which a man begging for money outside of Bank of America branch in town made $60 in about three hours and said he preferred to panhandle in Brentwood because people there give him more money than in other cities.
Police noted that the man was a felon who was previously convicted on burglary charges and a drug addict. “If our residents continue to give money to beggars, then criminals like this will continue to find it lucrative to come to Brentwood and set up shop,” police said in a statement. “They are not going to stop committing crimes while they are in Brentwood.”
BPOA President Eric Huesman said that as a Brentwood police officer and veteran, “We have compassion for those who are in need, but we always recommend that residents give to food pantries and other nonprofit organizations” instead of handing cash directly to panhandlers.
Police said that while the First Amendment protects some types of begging, such as sitting or standing with a sign, it’s illegal to approach someone to ask for money or to block someone’s way and ask for money.
Anyone who sees this happening may report it by calling Brentwood police at (925) 778-2441.
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