South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Panhandling on Carson


Last updated 8/20/2018 at 8:45pm

A Sunday walk on E. Carson St. on a sunny afternoon should be a pleasant experience.

However, it is less pleasant when one is being asked for money by panhandlers. The 1700 block to the 1900 block of Carson seems to be a “hot zone” for panhandling on South Side.

Although many panhandlers are polite, others aren’t and there is a growing number of them. During my walk of nine blocks, there were three different panhandlers on the south side of Carson. There are usually a few people begging for money on the other side of Carson also.

No doubt some of these people have fallen on hard times, while others may have medical or mental issues. But let’s face it, some panhandlers prefer to beg rather than work, probably to feed a alcohol or drug addiction.

If someone needs food, clothing or shelter, there are soup kitchens and organizations that can help.

One shouldn’t feel pressured to give money to panhandlers. If you prefer not to give, don’t engage them in conversation. Just walk confidently by with your head up. Don’t make eye contact. However, if you decide to give money, never open your wallet or purse in public.

Panhandling is legal. It’s considered freedom of speech which is a First Amendment right.

However, aggressive panhandling is illegal in many places including Pittsburgh. That is soliciting money in a threatening or menacing manner. If a panhandler touches you, physically or verbally threatens you, or harasses you by blocking your path, report such incidents to police.

I have given to panhandlers in the past, but I think it is a better idea to give to organizations that can help them. 

John Shatlan

South Side Flats


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