Greensboro, NC -- Greensboro City Council has proposed a crackdown on panhandlers to increase safety.
Months ago, Greensboro Police told News 2 they wanted tighter restrictions on panhandlers.
The city already requires panhandlers to get a permit or face arrest.
But according to Mayor Robbie Perkins, the city has received calls from people who have said a panhandler in the street is going to get hit, or someone else is going to be rear-ended because they're paying attention to the panhandler instead of the road.
There have also been complaints from people who say they don't want to be accosted at an intersection.
So here are the proposed changes to the city's panhandling ordinance:
-Panhandling would be limited to the sidewalk, not on medians, curbs, shoulders or anywhere on the road.
-Panhandling would not be allowed within 1,000 feet of any entrance or exit to a highway or interstate.
-Panhandling would be prohibited within 100 feet of any bank, financial institution or ATM.
-Panhandling would be forbidden while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
-Violent offenders would be prevented from getting panhandling permits.
The City Council hopes the measures would protect panhandlers and everyone else on the roads.
But for Sheree Williams, it would mean no more panhandling in her usual spot -- the off-ramp of I-40 at Randleman Road.
"I don't think it's right. This is a city sidewalk and it's public, as long as I'm not blocking anything," said Williams.
And for Kori Burt, it would mean only accepting money from the drivers who pull right up to the curb, that's few of them.
Both Williams and Burt are permitted. Both of them follow the current panhandling rules. And both of them said their disabilities don't allow them to work.
They said they're convinced the city is trying to prevent them from making a living.
"It's the only way we can support ourselves. Some of us have families. There's just a variety of things, the reasons why we're out here," said Burt.
The right to solicit donations is protected by the First Amendment in the United States Constitution.
Perkins said they have to make sure the rule changes don't restrict that because they could be taken to court and the new panhandling rules could be over-ruled.
The proposed changes are on the agenda for the next Greensboro City Council meeting.
Perkins said far they haven't heard any opposition, so he believes the panhandling ordinance changes will pass without too much discussion.
WFMY News 2