Panhandling is something everyone is familiar with. Kyle McCreery has been approached by panhandlers all over Gainesville.
“It’s a little uncomfortable because you don’t know what their intentions are,” McCreery said.
Art Forgey, spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, said most panhandling instances are perfectly legal.
“If the panhandler is standing on the sidewalk and panhandling on the sidewalk, there’s nothing wrong there at all,” Forgey said.
Forgey said problems arise when panhandlers step off of sidewalks and into roadways, potentially putting themselves or others in harm’s way.
On private property, panhandlers can make requests unless determined otherwise by the property owner.
“We’re trying to keep everyone safe and, you know, not feel harassed when they go into public,” Forgey said. “Or not feel like they have to be accosted and give money to somebody every time they get out and go somewhere.”
This story is a part of Untold Florida, a WUFT News series built from your questions.