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NEW: Worcester Panhandling Ordinance To Go Into Effect Wednesday

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

 

The City Council ordained two new local ordinances that will prohibit aggressive panhandling and keep pedestrians out of Worcester's roadways in a 9-2 vote on Tuesday night. City Manager Michael O'Brien said that enforcement of the new ordinances would begin on Wednesday following the Council's vote in the affirmative.

Also impacted by the ordinances are "tag days" held by youth athletic leagues and teams and community groups that solicit donations at intersections and along roadways.

District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera and At-Large Councilor Joseph O'Brien cast the two dissenting votes, as they did when the ordinances were first brought to the Council for a vote earlier this month.

Rivera questioned how the City would be able to enforce the new ordinances if it is already short-handed when it comes to assigning manpower to foot patrols.

"How is it that we're able to do this but we're not able to do other things that we need to do?" she asked.

O'Brien said Worcester has a very well-trained police force, with three shifts of officers patrolling different sectors of the City throughout the day.

"This will just be added to that for their observation," he said, noting it would be up to the officer's judgement when to cite individuals for panhandling violations, and that calls for more serious issues, such as violent crime, would be prioritized over panhandling violations.

 

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