June 17 at 7:25 PM
People have asked me how and why we started this effort. As Mayor Pro Tem, I spoke to the Police Chief and City Manager and we all were aware of the problems and the outcry of the citizens. We looked into ordinances against panhandling, but they clearly were overturned in many cities and the City Manager and Police Chief advised me to start a committee and they would support our efforts. So, I started a Committee, “Say NO to Panhandlers” and we approached it on an educational level that volunteers could work on. The volunteers were required to get permission of the businesses to put up the signs. And spoke to the businesses about safety issues ways to alleviate their problem.
The first signs were ordered in October 28th the first sign by Hobby Lobby was put up and by November 8th, the City had put up two signs. The rest have followed and the group is making progress every month. Now we have over 300 signs in businesses and are talking to them about starting a Neighborhood Watch for businesses.
Business Watch is a program that is based on the concept of Neighborhood Watch. It involves business owners getting to know each other and working together in an active role to reduce crime in the business community. A key element of Business Watch is employee education. The Police Department offers training for their employees free of charge on a variety of topics, including reporting suspicious activity, shoplifting and robbery prevention.
Some members of our Committee have gone through Citizens Academy with the police to help in this process of Business Watch by talking with businesses. Now Pomona has copied our signage for their city. It really has reduced the amount of panhandlers, and we are constantly trying to educate the public to Say NO to Panhandlers.
For more information, visit the Stop Upland Panhandling website.