Panhandling should be illegal in Columbia

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:53 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I’ve been living in Columbia since 1987. I come downtown to The District everyday, Monday through Saturday. During all the years I’ve lived here, I run into homeless people panhandling all over Columbia. Places like Ninth Street and the historic Wabash Station especially. The panhandling issue has been a major problem in Columbia for years. I get approached by panhandlers right in front of Lakota Coffee Company every time I go in. I’m frustrated and fed up with these panhandlers of Columbia.

It should be a law here in Columbia where it’s strictly prohibited. Or is it? I want this problem solved and if it means people getting arrested because of panhandling so be it. Panhandlers don’t deserve my money I work hard for. Keep these people off the streets, Columbia Police Department. They are a menace to society.

Any ideas or suggestions I would like to hear from you. Please e-mail me at

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Danielle Lacey July 24, 2008 | 8:41 p.m.

"Menace" seems a little harsh. I agree that it's sometimes annoying to have to worry about people asking for handouts while walking down Ninth. Annoying but not dangerous. Just ignore them (walk swiftly, look straight ahead) and they usually leave you alone. Aggressive panhandling (threats, waiting near ATMs, repeated requests, etc.) is already illegal. And really, that's never been too much of a problem. An interesting website,, talks about panhandling in Columbia. You should check it out.

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