Friday, September 26, 2008

The Professional Panhandling Plague

~We have all seen them on the streets begging for the change but the City Journal's latest edition exposes this under the radar movement and how it effects us all.

A new generation of shakedown artists hampers America’s urban revival.

By Steven Malanga

Charlie’s blunt approach to begging is in vogue across the country—and it actually works.Barbara Bradley, an editor with the Memphis Commercial Appeal, moved into the River City’s reviving downtown about a year and a half ago, loving its “energy and enthusiasm.” But a horde of invading panhandlers has cooled her enjoyment of city life.

Earlier this year, she recalled in a recent column, as she showed some visitors around the neighborhood, “a big panhandler blocked the entrance to our parking area and demanded his toll.” Now a nervous Bradley avoids certain downtown areas, locks her car when fueling up at local gas stations, and parks strategically, so that she can see beggars coming before getting out of her car. “When I hear someone call out ‘ma’am, ma’am’ anywhere in downtown or midtown, I run.”

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