Handling Aggressive Panhandlers
If you are being accosted by aggressive panhandlers, University Police recommends:
• Informing the individual causing the problem that he or she is interfering with your business
• Ask him/her to leave or you will contact the police.
• If the person persists or becomes belligerent, call the police immediately on the non-emergency line (216) 687-2020.
• If the person becomes aggressive or threatening call 9-1-1.
Reporting Suspects & Criminal Activity
When you call the police to report a crime or suspicious activity, the dispatcher will ask you questions to determine what type of crime or activity you are reporting in order to prioritize the incident. The more
useful information provided to University Police dispatchers, the better equipped officers are to apprehend suspects
and solve crimes. The most helpful thing you can do when calling the police department is to cooperate with the dispatcher -- most interviews are completed in a little over a minute, and dispatchers are expected to obtain all pertinent information.
When reporting panhandling and trespassing activity, be prepared to answer typical questions that will assist University Police dispatchers:
• What occurred and at what time?
• Where did the incident occur?
• How many suspects are/were involved?
• What was the suspect(s) doing?
• What did the suspect(s) say?
• How was suspect(s) behaving?
• Is anyone injured?
• Can the suspect(s) be identified?
• Can you provide a suspect description?
• Can you describe facial features?
• Were any weapons involved? If so, what type?
• Was there a vehicle involved? If so, describe. Example: 80’s Toyota Corolla, 4-door, white
• Did you document a license plate number?
• What was the suspect’s direction of flight, if any?
• Did you suffer a loss of property?
• What is your name, address and phone number? (This is important so that responding officers can call you before arriving so that you can direct them to the suspect(s)).
Keep these questions in mind when you observe or report a panhandling incident to the police.
City of Cleveland Municipal Ordnance 605.031 Aggressive Solicitation
(a) For purpose of this section:
(1) “Aggressive manner” means as follows:
A. Approaching, seeking, or following a person before, during, or after solicitation if that conduct is intended, or likely to cause, a reasonable person to (i) fear bodily harm to oneself or another, (ii) fear damage to or loss of property, or (iii) be intimidated;
B. Intentionally or recklessly touching or causing physical contact with another person without that person's consent in the course of soliciting if the touching or physical conduct is likely to cause a reasonable person to feel restrained or intimidated;
C. Continuing to solicit from a person after the person has given a negative response;
D. Intentionally or recklessly blocking the safe or free passage of a person or vehicle by any means, including unreasonably causing a pedestrian or vehicle operator to take evasive action to avoid physical contact. Acts authorized by a lawfully issued permit shall not constitute obstruction of pedestrian traffic for purposes of this section; or
E. Intentionally or recklessly using obscene, abusive, or threatening language, or gestures, toward a person being solicited.
(2) “Automated-teller machine” means a device, linked to a financial institution's account records, that is able to carry out transactions, including, but not limited to account transfers, deposits, cash withdrawals, balance inquiries, and mortgage and loan payments.
(3) “Automated-teller machine facility” means the area comprised of one or more automated-teller machines, and any adjacent space that is made available to banking customers.
(4) “Public property” means all property owned, operated or controlled by any governmental agency, including but not limited to streets, public sidewalks, tree lawns, parks, playgrounds, publicly-owned parking lots, schools, libraries, post offices, municipal transit facilities and other public lands and buildings.
(5) “Solicit” or “soliciting” means to request an immediate donation of money or other thing of value from another person, regardless of the solicitor's purpose or intended use of the money or other thing of value. The solicitation may be, without limitation, by the spoken, written, or printed word, by gesture or by other means of communication.
(b) No person shall solicit:
(1) In an aggressive manner;
(2) Within twenty feet of any automated-teller machine without the consent of the owner or other person legally in possession of the machine, provided, however, that when an automated-teller machine is located within an automated-teller machine facility, the distance shall be measured from the entrance or exit of the automated-teller machine facility;
(3) Within twenty feet of a bus stop, rapid-transit shelter, or bus shelter;
(4) Within twenty feet of a line of pedestrians waiting to obtain access to a building or event;
(5) Within twenty feet of the area of the sidewalk used by an outdoor restaurant under a temporary public right-of-way occupancy permit issued under Chapter 513 of the Codified Ordinances or by a vendor under a permit issued under Chapter 508, Section 675.06, or Section 675.07 of the Codified Ordinances;
(6) Within twenty feet of a valet zone established under Section 451.33 of the Codified Ordinances;
(7) Within fifteen feet of any pay telephone, provided, however, that when a pay telephone is located within a telephone booth or other facility, the distance shall be measured from the entrance or exit of the telephone booth or facility;
(8) Within fifteen feet of the entrance or exit of any public toilet facility;
(9) On public property within ten feet of an entrance to a building;
(10) On public property within ten feet of an entrance to a parking lot;
(11) On a public street, by intentionally or recklessly blocking the safe or free passage of a person or vehicle.
See Something, Say Something