Manteca Police don’t equate panhandlers to the homeless.
It’s because most aren’t.
“We know many of them have places where they are staying and even drive (into Manteca) to panhandle,” noted Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion.
And while panhandling per se is not illegal, aggressive panhandling is.
“What aggressive panhandling does is put the encounter on the terms of (the panhandler),” Obligacion said.
The police chief said those approached can easily be intimidated or become a victim.
“You don’t know if they’re going to snatch a necklace or grab your wallet when you open your purse,” the chief said.
Manteca Police get far more calls for simple panhandlers than they do of those who aggressive. Most panhandlers that are not aggressive do not break the law unless they solicit in areas banned by municipal ordinance.
But when it comes to people having a real fear of bodily harm, aggressive panhandling is illegal.
And although it doesn’t happen as much as run-of-the-mill panhandling, when it does it triggers a lot of apprehensive and anger.
Manteca Polices arrest of an individual who happens to be homeless for aggressive panhandling last week in a North Main Street convenience store parking lot prompted numerous social media posting to the Bulletin story slamming the practice.
Reports indicate the man arrested was approaching and following his targets before, during and after soliciting them for money. That is against the law. It’s also illegal for a panhandler to touch or cause physical contact with a person or an occupied vehicle without the person’s consent. Nor can they block or interfere with the safe or free passage of a pedestrian or a vehicle by any means.
Panhandlers also cannot use violent or threatening gestures or employ profane, offensive or abusive language that is inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction wither before, during, or after solicitation.
Under city law, no panhandler may solicit:
within 15 feet of any entrance to a financial institution during business hours or within 15 feet of an ATM.
anyone in a vehicle within 100 feet of an intersection that is controlled by a traffic signal.
anyone in a public parking lot after dark as defined as a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise
within 10 feet of a public transportation stop or while on public transportation.
uin a restaurant whether it is indoors or an outdoor dining area.