New Britain officials trying to stop aggressive panhandling - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New Britain officials trying to stop aggressive panhandling

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New Britain officials are trying to stop aggressive panhandling in the city. (WFSB) New Britain officials are trying to stop aggressive panhandling in the city. (WFSB)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

Aggressive panhandling has been a problem in New Britain for years, and now the mayor and others want to put a stop to it.

Managers at Capitol Lunch said it is a busy place at lunch time, but sometimes panhandlers take advantage of the large crowds and can scare people.

"What I've witnessed and what they've been telling me is ‘give me some money’ and if they say no, they'll get hostile with them,” said Capitol Lunch Manager Art Ververis.

That kind of aggressive panhandling is what a proposed ordinance wants to get rid of. It would still be fine to hold a sign or perform and ask for money, but touching someone, blocking them, cursing at them, or continuing to beg is where the line will be drawn.

Advocates for the homeless said the ordinance will only hurt those less fortunate even more.

"We need to help people...not punish people for needing help,” said Nate Fox, director of outreach at Center Church.

In a statement, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said “It’s a public safety concern and we are doing our due diligence to explore how we can address the situation.”

The proposal has now been referred to a common council subcommittee for further review.

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