Worcester Police: Aggressive Panhandling Down Since Ordinance Passed

WORCESTER (CBS) – Since Worcester’s new panhandling ordinance took effect in January, only four people have been arrested.

Police credit the month they spent getting the word out to panhandlers after the ordinance was passed.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

Officers targeted shelters and social service agencies and now Police Chief Gary Gemme is modestly pleased with the results.

“What we were really hoping for is voluntary compliance, we put a lot of effort up front,” Gemme told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “We have a few hardcore people that just don’t seem to get the message that aggressive panhandling will not be tolerated.”

Gemme said one of the four people arrested was arrested twice.

Still, Gemme says given the size of Worcester and the amount of intersections, he is happy with the low number of arrests.

Gemme is hoping that those arrested with get court-ordered help for their drug abuse and other issues that have forced them to panhandle.

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