Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Donation Meters: A Good Idea For Uptown?

Atlanta has come up with an interesting way to combat panhandling. Would this be a good idea for Uptown?

By Kathy Lohr, NPR
Warning to Atlanta's panhandlers: Don't expect handouts anymore. City officials are encouraging tourists and Atlantans to drop coins into what look like parking meters — instead of giving directly to panhandlers.

Officials unveiled the first of these donation meters at City Hall last week. Atlanta officials, who say panhandlers are aggressive and target tourists and convention-goers, say tourists cite panhandling as a major reason they will not return. Continue Reading


  1. I would guess that these type of meters would not last long in Uptown. Likely be destroyed by panhandlers or their advocates. Alderman Shiller might even try to ban them as racist or classist.

    And so it goes.

  2. They would make a ton more if they put these outside the gas stations so people could dump in donations as they wait in line for gas.

  3. Yet one more way to waste tax payers money with a program like this. Absolutely stupid.

  4. Dumbest thing I've ever seen. Why would a "donation meter" stop a panhandler when the money doesn't directly go to him or her? Talk about a waste of taxpayer money... or even more... the time someone took thinking about and executing this that could have been used more productively.

  5. So the city takes a cut and then gives the rest to charities? What charities? The ones that already get so much of our taxes and the donations we make at work that include corporate matching?

    Government philanthropy? How does it deter panhandlers? Suddenly are they getting so much more at the soup kitchen or shelter that there is no need to beg and sometimes hassle passers by?

    I'd like to see some data on how effective these have been...or ineffective. I'm skeptical if they are a good idea for Uptown or Chicago.

  6. Totally insipid.
    I don't want to give money to a questionable 'panhandler', let alone to a robot, so to speak.

    It just encourages such behavior I would think.....
    one has to suffer the agressive guy in the wheelchair at Malden/Wilson, to say 'No No!'.....enough is enough.

  7. I don't think it would work in Uptown because I think they would disappear quickly.

    It might work in a downtown area to discourage people from giving. I guess we'll have to sit back and wait.

    Let the social science test begin.........

  8. I believe we already have several mechanisms for donations, but maybe Atlanta is installing them so they can point to the meters to show they are being nice while enforcing panhandling laws. Our taxes pay for many programs for the poor, unemployed and homeless. Giving money to panhandlers only promotes further panhandling. It may make you feel good, but it adds to the problem.

    Another word for aggressive panhandling is assault. If you see it or are a victim of it, call 911 and insist that the police follow through with an arrest. The problem will not stop until we make it stop.

  9. I agree shillsgangs. Recently a friend of mine who lives here in Uptown was assaulted by a man who was asking him for money. Literally threw him to the ground when he refused and walked away!

    I'm inspired by the tenacity so many show and then blog about on here, to take police to the scene and really make an effort to stand up to these people and let them know we won't take it!

  10. I despise panhandlers and will not give them 1 cent of the money I earn from working 2 jobs nor would I give it to a "donation" meter run by this corrupt city. What a joke.

  11. I agree that I also dislike panhandling. However, some of the comments seem to think that this is "going to happen" in chicago rather than just seeing it as a discussion piece.

    From purely a discussion point, if they put one at wilson and sheridan by the McDonalds, I would love to feed it with coins (other than quarters) when I have them as I would be able to tell all the panhandlers to go to a shelter or something if they want "food".

    Of course, the first step would be to make panhandling illegal here which I assume it isn't.

    On the flip side of things, I see how this would be a waste of money, but would it be any more wasteful than giving to the salvation army at christmas or other dontation boxes?

    Also, I don't think the meters would be attacked by the panhandlers...they don't attack parking meters, at least not on a regular basis.

    Finally, I wonder what the donation meter would actually meter. Number of hours with a clear conscience? Number of hours that you wont be accosted by a panhandler?

    I personally think that this is kind of a dumb idea for Atlanta, but I'd to see how it pans out.

  12. Panhandling is illegal in Chicago.

  13. well if it actually illegal, then its time to have some folks arrested!

  14. "Aggressive" panhandling is illegal, I don't believe hanging around with a sign and a hat asking for a hand-out is.

  15. Panhandling is illegal in Chicago.

    Not really
    "Before March 2002, Chicago prohibited panhandling. Then the City Council repealed that ordinance in the midst of a lawsuit by panhandlers who claimed the city violated their rights."


    Althought this story was written in 2004 so it might have changed but I don't think so.

  16. Chicago enacted an ordinance prohibiting aggressive panhandling in Sept. 2004 (Municipal Code 8-4-025). It prohibits actions that a reasonable person would find "intimidating." These include:

    (A) Touching the solicited person without the solicited person’s consent;

    (B) Panhandling a person while such person is standing in line and waiting to be admitted to a commercial establishment;

    (C) Blocking the path of a person being solicited, or the entrance to any building or vehicle;

    (D) Following behind, ahead or alongside a person who walks away from the panhandler after being solicited;

    (E) Using profane or abusive language.

    If someone is standing there with a hand out it is okay, but it is NOT okay to do much else. This includes bothering people waiting to get into Dunkin Donuts or any other commercial establishment.

    If you see violations, call 911.