Brady District Posts Signs About Not Paying Panhandlers

Friday, May 16th 2014, 11:26 pm
By: News On 6

One landlord in the Brady District recently took it upon himself to try and combat panhandling in the district. The signs have a simple message that many business owner hope isn't taken the wrong way.

An example of one of a number of signs posted around the Brady District says, "Please Do Not Pay the Panhandlers." People say they're not crusading against the homeless; they just want everyone in the area to be safe.

The signs went up two weeks ago, it's a simple step by Brady District landlord David Sharp to help the area feel safer. Many of his tenants support his decision.

General Manager of Mexicali Border Café, Albert Cronhein, said, "The signs that were put up will help everyone in the long run."

A recent assault in an otherwise quiet area has some on edge. Business owners said a small, but regular group of panhandlers, are harassing people.

"Tulsa is a city that has enough beds for people to eat and sleep everyday if you're homeless. There are so many areas and venues for them to do what they want to do," Cronhein said.

Some are questioning if the signs are really necessary.

"The person that drives here from some other side of town and sees the signs and thinks they're offensive. "The first time they are in their car and has someone knock on their window in a parking lot, they're gonna understand that's why," said Cronhein.

The city of Tulsa said it is aware of the concerns of downtown businesses saying, "In coordination with the Tulsa Police Department and three downtown public safety ambassadors, the City of Tulsa will continue to meet with downtown stakeholders to address any concerns and uphold the city ordinance."

"We have a budget deficit with the city," Cronhein said. "You can write an ordinance, but if you don't have people to enforce it, it's just not gonna happen."

That current city ordinance, being a person can panhandle once, but if they ask again, and with aggression, they can be cited.

Businesses say police presence has increased with the growth of the district. They understand the police department is also short staffed, so, again, they just hope the signs will be a reminder to Brady District customers and perhaps help with the panhandling issue.