07:31 GMT25 May 2020
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Motorists in Newark, New Jersey, who stop to offer money to people soliciting for donations on the street will now be fined, Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose recently declared, citing safety concerns. The law took effect last month.

    "People are well-meaning and want to help, but this is a safety issue," Ambrose said, multiple media sources reported. "We have panhandlers wading into traffic at busy exit ramps off Route 280 [a 17.85-mile Interstate Highway in New Jersey] or on McCarter Highway [in northern New Jersey], which jeopardizes their own health. We had a female pedestrian killed on McCarter Highway just a few weeks ago." 

    "When a driver stops and gives a panhandler money, they're basically helping them feed bad habits," Ambrose added. "We want to discourage this, but while offering these panhandlers significant and meaningful help."

    In the weeks since the law went into effect, 90 summonses have been issued by Newark police. So far, around 250 people have been cited for panhandling. The $50 fine, which appears to be for both stopping and soliciting, does not include court costs. 

    According to Ambrose, the new law is part of the city's initiative to help its homeless, whose lives may be in jeopardy when they are standing nearby moving traffic.

    Newark Hope One, a mobile police unit, is now offering services, including addiction recovery and housing assistance, to areas where panhandlers often collect. So far, the police unit has helped more than 120 homeless people get access to such services during 2019.

    "I'm pleased Hope One Newark is making an impact in meeting the needs of those addicted, suffering from mental illness or living homeless," Ambrose noted. "We're coming to them, and giving them a pathway to improve their lives."


    WATCH: New Jersey Police Pin Down Teenager, Repeatedly Punch Him in the Face
    New Jersey Giants: Bears Wrestle Metres Away from Shocked Homeowner
    New Jersey Teens Accused of Jamming School WiFi to Escape Tests
    Insane Fires Destroy Cars at Newark Airport, Hit Factory in New Jersey (VIDEO)
    Former New Jersey Governor Christie Slams Media for Coverage of McCain Funeral
    homeless, law, driver, New Jersey
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via SputnikComment via Facebook