Little authorities can do about panhandling with kids

Little authorities can do about...

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) - As the area hits record temperatures many residents have voiced anger, and even called police when they see a person panhandling with a young child. Authorities note unless there is a serious problem there is little they can do, because having a child with them is not against the law.

Det. Richard Chipping of Salt Lake City Police Department said they will occasionally get calls about these situations. There have been cases where they've had to step in. Often times unless a child is severely dehydrated there is nothing they can do.

"Everyone has their right to raise their kids unmolested and not be told how to do things," said Det. Chipping.

A major effort is underway along the Wasatch Front to discourage people from giving money to panhandlers. According to experts those who often do so aren't homeless, and are usually feeding an addiction.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City said in a press conference earlier this week no matter what a sign says it's often not where the money goes.

"Money given to panhandlers is not for food. It's not for a bus ticket, and it's not to help a child," said Mayor Biskupski.

Homeless advocates know how much the site of a child with someone panhandling can invoke an emotional response. Experts claim they will often have a child with them because they can't find a sitter or are trying to gain sympathy and more money.

During our story our cameras spotted a man panhandling with a small child at the corner of State St. and 4500 South near Murray. Once he saw our cameras he became very nervous and then aggressive and angry we were there.

Advocates said they have several resources for parents and kids, but claim this is another reason not to give to panhandlers. They believe the more people give to them on the street the more common the practice of using kids becomes.

If someone sees a situation where a child might be dehydrated or appear not well police said you can call them.

"It is okay to call us, but if we go out there and all it is, is there's a child out there with someone who's panhandling," said Det. Chipping. "That may not be enough for us to do anything."

Homeless advocates suggest instead of giving money to panhandlers, instead give it to organizations who help get services for the homeless.

 


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • Download ABC4Utah Apps
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Pictureline Photos4Utah Contest
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Weather Ball
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Email Signup
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Weather School
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

Video Center