ALBANY, GA (WALB) - For the first time ever, a new law could stop panhandlers in Albany from harassing you for money.
Right now, the city attorney is drafting a public safety ordinance that would ban all aggressive forms of solicitation.
Albany's Krispy Kreme store manager, Nancy Albrecht, said there's only so much she can do to keep panhandlers from knocking on her customers' car windows.
Now she hopes with a new ordinance, it could bring customers back.
"He would hang out by the side of the wall by the window and when cars would start pulling off, he would approach the window and ask for money," said Albrecht.
She explained aggressive panhandlers are setting up shop across Albany, and it's hurting local businesses and making some residents think twice about chowing down on those gooey donuts.
"When you've got strangers approaching your car, and you've got kids in there, your first impression is to drive off," explained Albrecht.
She said one panhandler actually served jail time for trespassing on the property numerous times.
But the city is now putting something on the books to change that.
"Reduce any chance of a violent confrontation, that's a bottom line," said City Attorney Nathan Davis.
The ordinance would only ban aggressive forms of solicitation, "when your path gets blocked and feel like you're being followed," said Davis.
It all comes down to the manner of the solicitation.
The ordinance would not include requests for signatures on a petition to avoid violating residents' First Amendment rights.
"Hopefully most of our customers will come back," said Albrecht.
The current ordinance only addresses residents who solicit to sell goods outside of your home.
But under that same law, religious solicitation is not prohibited.
Albany's city attorney will present the anti-aggressive panhandler ordinance at the next commission meeting on January 23.
The board will then decide on whether to approve it or modify it.
If approved, the ordinance could go into effect as early as this month.