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Aggressive Panhandling Creates Nuisance For NW OKC Neighborhood

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Business owners and residents in the area of I-44 and Pennsylvania Avenue say panhandling is becoming a never-ending nuisance. Business owners and residents in the area of I-44 and Pennsylvania Avenue say panhandling is becoming a never-ending nuisance.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

If you're experiencing more begging in Oklahoma City, you're not alone. Officials say panhandling is on the rise and a certain neighborhood is seeing an aggressive form.

Business owners and residents in the area of I-44 and Pennsylvania Avenue say panhandling is becoming a never-ending nuisance. Panhandler Jim Miller says he is part of the minority when it comes to those looking for help.

"I'm asking for anything," Miller said. "Food, clothing, money … it doesn't matter."

Miller says far too many people are looking for just cash to help support unhealthy habits.

"It's just getting worse every day," said Miller.

Area residents agree.

"I saw one of them hit somebody in the eye," northwest side resident Gregory Norman said. "Some guy stopped for something and I guess he must have said 'No'."

Police say it's not uncommon to receive 911 calls for aggressive panhandling near NW 39th and Penn, and a nearby condo complex is warning residents of homeless people trespassing on private property.

Officials working directly with the homeless population tell News 9, for whatever reason, it seems to be getting worse.

"I make sure I turn on my alarm on a regular basis now," area resident Kelly Bradshaw said. "Something needs to be done, but I personally don't know what we need to do."

To tackle the issue, the Oklahoma City Homeless Alliance says it has something people should try – a voucher program. The alliance sells booklets of bus tickets for people to distribute to panhandlers. The tickets have information on where homeless people can find free shelter, food and help.

The vouchers are available here http://www.homelessalliance.org/ and cost $5 for a book of five.

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