Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New Measures Ease Panhandling

Posted on 8/15/2016 7:32 PM by Pete McIntyre 107.5 KSSFM
The City of Vernon says complaints about panhandling are down since a new strategy was introduced a few months ago. Bylaws staff also say panhandlers aren't seeking money on medians, or near the new Kindness Meters as often as before. Mayor Akbal Mund says the city improved signage to discourage panhandling at intersections, and increased enforcement in areas of concern. "it could be several other reasons. I mean people could have moved on to other areas, we don't know, so they could be moving around. Otherwise, I have to give credit. I don't see them standing in the middle of streets anymore," says Mund. Councillor Scott Anderson --who raised the initial concerns -- agrees the issue has improved. "I have heard from numerous people that the panhandling itself has decreased downtown. it certainly has decreased on the medians, so I think the signs have been very effective," Anderson tells Kiss FM. Councillor Brian Quiring is pleased to hear that, but says it hasn't solved all the downtown issues. "I have definitely seen an increase around my office of some fairly undesirable people, and I've actually seen an increase in transients around Vernon, but I'm glad to see the panhandling is getting less." Quiring says there's been issues with vandalism, break-ins, garbage, and prostitution near his office in the 3400 block of 32nd Avenue. The city's Protective Services manager Clint Kanester says $523 was donated to the Kindness Meters in July. The money will be donated to local agencies that provide support for homeless people.

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