Lafayette Police Conduct Panhandling Sting
We've seen the guys and gals standing by the side of the road holding their handmade sign. Their request is simple, "Need Money For Food", at least that's what the sign says. My faith based upbringing tells me I need to help my fellow man. The cynical disc jockey in me says, No, this guy is a scam artist. Which choice do you make?
Panhandling has become such a concern in some sections of Lafayette that the city police recently conducted a two week operation designed to curb the practice in the Hub City. In a report filed by KATC's Allison Bourne-Vanneck, Councilman Jay Castille, who represents citizens who live in District 2, addressed the problem.
"With everything going on now-a-days, you know, shootings everywhere, you start to have someone approach your vehicle at the intersection, it makes you a little nervous. You know, so it's kind of a dangerous situation,"
Castille noted that most of the instances of panhandling that generated complaints were coming from the interchanges of I-10 and University and I-10 and Ambassador Caffery Parkway.
"You have such a high volume of traffic at those particular intersections, with thousands of cars passing there every day. So if one, two, three percent of those individuals that are driving give money to them, you know it becomes lucrative to them. That's why they're most likely to be out there, and continue to be out there because people continue to give them money,"
That's what Lafayette Police spokesman Paul Mouton told Bourne-Vanneck in her report.
Lafayette Police did make several arrests during the two week operation including one man who was arrested three times on Mother's Day weekend. The authorities advice to you, don't give panhandlers money. If the income stream dries up, the panhandlers will go away. If you want to help those who are in need, give through local reputable charitable organizations. That way you know your money is going to actually help those in need.