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Cincinnati Council Could Vote Soon To Ban Panhandling Near Schools

Cincinnati Council could vote in two weeks on a plan to forbid aggressive panhandling within 50 feet of a school.  

The Law and Public Safety Committee discussed the issue Monday but did not vote on the proposal.  

Council Member Christopher Smitherman said it is about safety for children and parents.

“If you have somebody who just doesn’t get the message, what this ordinance does is allow the CPD to take that next step,” Smitherman said.  “And feel comfortable that the law protects them in taking that next step.”

But opponents said the current ordinance already prohibits any form of aggressive panhandling.  Josh Spring is the Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition.

“There’s no statistical evidence that people who are panhandling pose a threat,” Spring said.  “So we know that there are threats that happen to our school, we’re all very aware of that and it’s scary and we have to do something about it.  But one of those threats in terms of safety really isn’t panhandling.”

The city already has restrictions on panhandling near ATM’s, parking meters, hotel entrances and outdoor dining areas.  

The police department and city lawyers will present at the next committee meeting prior to a vote on the measure.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.