ROCKFORD (WIFR) – You’ve probably seen this before, someone standing outside a store, asking us for a few dollars. Now Rockford Police say the nuisance is becoming a growing problem.
The Police Department received a number of complaints about panhandlers at Starbucks and around other stores in Forest Plaza and around Target right across the Street. Now officers are on the lookout for those people asking for money. Officers recently ticketed 12 people for aggressive panhandling. They say while many of the people asking for money are very nice and pretty much stay out of shoppers’ ways, others can be a little more direct.
“Some are actually aggressive and make people feel uneasy like they’re possibly being threatened. They may not be told specifically you know, I’m going to hurt you if you don’t give me money, but they’re feeling threatened by the way they’re being asked for money.” Said Lt. John Hoeksema with the Rockford Police Department.
Those aggressive panhandlers face up to $750 in fines.
The Police Department is also asking for businesses to help with this to. It’s pretty hit and miss for officers to find people out panhandling so they’ve talked to store managers in the area and told them if they see panhandlers on their property to call the police and they’ll send an officer out.