What's Your Experience with Panhandling in Salem?

We've had lots of people bring up the issue of panhandling in the city. Tell us what your experience is here as we continue to address this issue.

In the wake of our and Monday's , we've had quite a few people reach out to us regarding their concerns about aggressive panhandling.

We're opening space on Salem Patch so those with specific concerns about panhandling can discuss the issue.

What are your experiences with panhandling in Salem? Where is it the worst?

Let us know in the comments. We'll be following up with the city on this issue as we continue to gather your thoughts.

Billie McGregor August 02, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Benefit v. Cambridge, 424 Mass. 918 (1997).
James R. Willis Jr. August 02, 2012 at 03:03 AM
The Patch article cited above about Mr. Evans shows a correction now indicating that he was not in fact arrested for "panhandling", as the police cannot charge for that crime, but for the many other crimes he committed. Benefit v. Cambridge indeed, as Billie O'Connor found above, cites over 80 years of US Supreme Court cases to hold that "peaceful begging" is constitutionally protected. Drinking in public and trespassing to panhandle on private property are still arrestable offenses.
Timothy Camire August 02, 2012 at 06:14 AM
I work with that Walgreens. I can tel you the store has repeatedly attempted to slow or stop panhandling outside the store. The police know us well. There are issues of exactly where our property ends, and where they stand. Still, as has been brought up before, people just have to understand they can't give money to them. I'm more of a Democrat than anything, but even I understand there are many many programs to help those in need. Giving just keeps them coming around, and even a police visit won't stop them from trying again. It just is too easy to beg rather then try and really improve their situation. Please stop giving. The people asking WILL lie about their situation to get money consistently. Please don't blame the store for not doing more. We have shoplifters and other incidents inside the store to be more concerned about. Also, please don't think I speak for the company. I just am sharing some personal observations. In my experience, If you don't give they let you pass. If they don't let you pass, then you have a good reason to get on your own personal cell phone and call the police. If you don't carry a cell phone I'm sure the employees will be happy to help you make the call.
Irishjedi August 02, 2012 at 10:48 PM
I have actually pushed his wheelchair up the hill to the Salem Heights on more than one occasion because his battery ran out and felt bad. Not anymore. Once he asked me for $5 in my drive and yelled at him because of what I've done for him. No more hand outs. Boston St. (near Walgreens) is getting pretty bad with the drunks and druggies. Something needs to be done and the apartments at the corner of Pope and Boston torn down. That is where many of them stay.
Misty August 08, 2012 at 02:02 AM
I just tried to comment on this but don't think it went through, so sorry if there's a double post! The guy who pushes himself around on one foot sits on the corner of Harbor (where I live) and lafayette all the time. I'd say 90% of the times i've walked up my street since 2006 he has been here. He asks us for money by shrugging his shoulders and gesturing with his arms when we walk by. We're always amazed when we see that he got himself to another area of town. We call him the Harbor Street Toll! Yesterday, he was in the middle (literally, in the middle) of harbor street drinking a 40 out of a paper bag while cars had to maneuver around him. I saw him pour some out for his homies when I was walking by. True story!


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