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Keep the change: Utica signs will tell people not to give to panhandlers

The signs, instead, tell people to give to a charity that can help.

Posted: May 22, 2019 5:35 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- Keep the change! The city of Utica is in the process of putting up new signs telling you to not give money to panhandlers.

The signs, instead, tell people to give to a charity that can help.

That isn’t be sitting well with some of those who do panhandle, but the police are getting continuous complaints.

“The Utica Police Department would rather come and harass somebody like me for standing and holding a sign for a few minutes to make myself something to eat, or something to drink, rather than out here stopping people from committing an actual crime,” said Richard Lambert, a homeless man.

“The biggest complaint we're getting from the public is that we're not doing anything about it. What the public doesn't realize is that unfortunately a federal law, and then a state law that followed it that basically struck down our loitering sections for – they made it against the law to beg in public,” said Utica Police Chief Mark Williams.

The city sign department is still working on the signs. The DPW is planning on placing the signs in several problem locations around the city.

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