New Signs to Stop "Aggressive" Panhandlers

A Los Angeles city council man says he has a program to end aggressive panhandling by using no-loitering signs. 

Business owners say having these panhandlers right outside their shops is deterring customers from their shops.

Co-owner of McCalla Company, Craig McCalla, is hoping the signs will fix the problem. 

“If the homeless have all their stuff outside our store, people are wary of walking in. It affects our sales. No-loitering signs should definitely help.”

A recent count from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority says nearly 58,000 homeless people live in Los Angeles County on any given night, a 23 percent increase from last year.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield says he has a solution to begin installing no-loitering signs in 16 underpasses and pedestrian tunnels across communities, including Reseda, Winnetka and Woodland Hills.

The signs won’t ban tent encampments on sidewalks, but they will allow officers to move or arrest a homeless person without a notice and warning.

“No person shall stand in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public way open for pedestrian travel or otherwise occupy any portion thereof in such a manner as to annoy or molest any pedestrian thereon or so as to obstruct or unreasonably interfere with the free passage of pedestrians.”

Chief executive of the Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce Nancy Hoffman Vanyek says this change has been needed for a long time.

“People are concerned, and we let it go for so long. I think our City Council needs to take a stronger stand. Installing the signs is a good step.”

Not everyone is happy about this, one homeless man from Hollywood says installing the no-loitering signs are cruel.

“I think it’s really inhumane. It’s not how you’re going to get rid of someone. It makes you feel like an animal. ... It’s not how you’re going to get rid of someone, because they will come back next day.”

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