City councilors in Framingham, Massachusetts, have voted to ban aggressive solicitation after an apparent increase in panhandling on busy streets.
"The idea behind the ordinance is to convince people it's really not the best way to help people who are in real need, and there's some question as to whether some of these people are even in real need," said Framingham City Councilor George King.
City officials believe this is organized panhandling.
"What we're seeing is people being bussed in," said City Council Chairman Phil Ottaviani Jr. "Getting dropped off on Route 30, six to eight people coming out of a car and panhandling, it's gotten out of control."
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Dylan Crites, who says he asks for money nearly every day, says he's not part of any organized effort.
"I'm just trying to survive," said Crites. "I'm trying to get clothes, food, hotel, eventually get back to a real place to live in."
More on people in need
City council member Janet Leombruno says the panhandling has been happening on some of the city's most traveled thoroughfares, like on Speen Street and in downtown Framingham, and with panhandlers darting in and out of traffic.
"This has probably been the number one issue that we've been hearing about from people throughout the city," said Leombruno.
The new ordinance means pedestrians like panhandlers cannot walk on the road on almost 20 city streets when a sidewalk is available, and they must stay at least five feet away from a driver.
It'll be up to police to enforce the new ordinance.
Fines start at $50 for the first offense and go up from there.