LORAIN, Ohio-- Downtown business owners are working to ward off panhandlers. They believe they’re driving away customers and making the area unsafe.
“People that are in that lifestyle tend to migrate to areas that are depressed. So over the years, it continues to grow and become a greater problem,” said Jon Veard of United Property Management Corporation.
He said he’s seen his fair share of panhandling. He said some will get extremely aggressive and it frightens patrons.
“They’ll stop a woman in their path until she gives them change in her pocket or dollars,” he said.
Veard and others are now working together to find a solution. They just recently started posting signs in storefronts that say, “zero tolerance.” He said they’re supposed to be meant as a warning to panhandlers.
“We could clean up our streets. We could make the downtown safe and desirable, and we can draw business back. It’s a slow process, but it starts off by saying no to the predators,” he said.
Businesses are encouraged to call police if they see any panhandlers. The city does have laws in place banning that kind of activity.