BRANSON, Mo. — You may have seen signs posted around the city of Branson over the last few months that say “don’t support panhandling.”
It’s a part of a citywide effort to stop people asking for money on the side of the road.
We spoke to Branson police chief, Jeff Matthews, who says if you want to help someone at a corner, there are other ways to do so.
The signs also say, you can help by giving to a local charity.
The idea is to funnel the money through an organization, and get people help with shelter, job training, or food.
Matthews says panhandling is illegal and also a safety issue, when pedestrians get onto the street. “the courts have told us that is a 1st amendment right. We can’t address the signage. And we can’t address the standing on the street corners. But what we can address at this point is, the walking into the roadway for the solicitation purposes.
The signs are one aspect of a multi phased project.
Matthews says they have not caused a big change in behavior yet, but his officers will continue to enforce panhandling rules.