APD warns of panhandling in streets - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

APD warns of panhandling in streets

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If you've driven around Albany, there's a good chance you've been approached by a panhandler. One was arrested Tuesday for soliciting money near a busy intersection on Slappey.

Byron Staley was arrested when Albany Police spotted him walking into traffic at Slappey and Gillionville, asking for money. This is at least the fourth time he has been arrested for pedestrian soliciting in roadway, and Officers say he has been warned at least a half dozen times.

"It's his safety to begin with. Plus the safety of the drivers on the roadway that actually have the right of way out there, without him wandering out in the roads, doing things like that," Albany Police Corporal Jon Segroves said.

Albany's ordinance is very clear. No one should go into the road to go up to cars.

 "The ordinance prohibits selling, offering to sell, soliciting, giving, lending or delivering goods or merchandise, literature, products, or anything else basically to persons who are in vehicles upon the traveled portion of a city street," said Albany City Attorney Nathan Davis.

Lots of church and school groups, especially on weekends, will be seeking donations at intersections, and will run into the street. Police say it's against the law, and just too dangerous.

"They can stand by the roadway, but the people must pull into a parking lot or somewhere else if they want to make a donation to them. They must come off the roadway to where they are. They are not allowed to go into the streets to collect money, for the safety purposes," Segroves said

Police say the last thing they want to see is a person hit by a car, maybe killed, trying to get a buck. So they urge panhandlers and groups to stay out of the streets.

Police say there are just too many distractions for drivers to worry about in the road while you are driving, to have to worry about someone darting into the street suddenly. It's just not worth the danger.

Byron Staley made his appearance in court Wednesday morning, and was released.



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