On Tuesday night, the city council of Meridian approved the passing of two new ordinances against panhandling around the city.
The ordinance will find those found panhandling in certain public and private locations and those giving money to panhandlers while stopped in traffic to be in violation of these ordinances.
“It really addresses the manner and the location. It makes it unlawful for aggressive panhandling, to make it a safer environment for the people visiting the city, and also for the panhandlers and when you eliminate the aggressive panhandling then hopefully you start to see that type of panhandling go away”, said John Griffith, Operations Captain of Meridian Police Department.
The penalty for those found panhandling and those giving money to panhandlers while in their vehicles in traffic is a two hundred and fifty dollar fine or thirty days in jail.
“It’s going to help with the moral of the people that dislike and feel like they’re being bothered by the people that are in need. I don’t necessarily want to call them a panhandling because that the title they gave them, but it would help the morality of the people and the business that have to deal with those that stand out in front of their business”, said Freddie Miller, resident and business owner.
Residents like Freddie Miller believe that there is more improvement to be made with the panhandling issue
“ The only thing that’s going to help the city is to fix that problem of why do we have that problem now anyway when Mississippi didn’t never used to have that problem, why do we have that problem, so unless you’re going to get to the root of the problem it’s not going to do much”, said Miller.
The two ordinances will take effect 30 days after it has been passed, in mid-December.