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Philly may take on aggressive panhandlers

A Philadelphia City Councilman said it’s time to take another look at aggressive panhandling.

It’s been about a decade since Philadelphia enacted an aggressive panhandling law banning people from asking for money near ATM’s or store entrances. Councilman Frank DiCicco said it’s not working.

“What we want to do is give the police a little bit more authority to make decisions as to people who are either aggressively panhandling or homeless as to whether a police officer believes that person needs to be taken to a facility without having to wait for all the outreach program folks to come,” DiCicco said.

Mary Catherine Roper, of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the group will review the bill.

“If you have a problem with desperate homeless people on the street, then maybe you should start with social programs for desperate homeless people instead of arresting them,” said Roper.

Roper said the group would oppose any bill that would criminalize hungry people asking for a handout.

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