NEWARK (CBSNewYork) – You may want to think twice before giving money to panhandlers in Newark.
Police there will now be ticketing drivers they say are posing safety risks and delaying traffic by stopping to give money.
“People are well-meaning and want to help, but this is a safety issue,” Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said. “We have panhandlers wading into traffic at busy exit ramps off Route 280 or on McCarter Highway, which jeopardizes their own health. We had a female pedestrian killed on McCarter Highway just a few weeks ago.”
Police have issued 90 summonses in just the last few weeks. That comes with a $50 fine plus court costs.
The city says this is all part of a larger plan to help the homeless.
“When a driver stops and gives a panhandler money, they’re basically helping them feed bad habits,” Ambrose said. “We want to discourage this, but while offering these panhandlers significant and meaningful help.”
Newark Hope One, a police mobile unit, will also try to keep panhandlers off the streets by offering services to get them help.