Turlock Police Need Public’s Help in Ongoing Panhandling Problem


Turlock police recently gave an update on panhandling in Turlock and are asking for the public’s assistance in helping with enforcement.

“We’ve done our best to try to deal with this through enforcement alone, and will continue to do all of the enforcement activity necessary with the public’s help for those specific sections that are enforceable,” said Turlock Police Captain Steve Williams at the most recent City Council meeting.

According to Williams, the Turlock Police Department faces many roadblocks in enforcing aggressive panhandling in Turlock. Among those are constitutional protections, including free speech.

Loitering and vagrancy have both been deemed unconstitutional and therefore are unenforceable by police.

The Turlock Police Department can deal with the issue of panhandling, however they must work within the law.

In Turlock, there are two municipal codes that relate to panhandling — Code 4-7-904 and 5-26-02.

Code 4-7-904 prohibits pedestrians from standing on an island or median unless it is a temporary stop, such as a stop in a long crosswalk. Panhandling is not an exception in the code, said Williams.

The other code, 5-26-02, is the code that directly addresses “aggressive” solicitation or panhandling. Under the code “no person shall solicit, ask or beg in an aggressive manner in any public place.”

“Aggressive manner” is defined to include intentionally touching or causing physical contact with another person or occupied vehicle, using violent threats or gestures, persistently following or approaching a person, and intentionally blocking safe passage or a person or vehicle before, during, or after solicitation, asking or begging.

There is also a section of the Penal Code, PC 602.1, that can also be enforced on panhandlers. The code prohibits anyone from intentionally interfering with a lawful business. Williams said that this code is very specific, however.

Enforcement, however, is not as easy as simply finding a panhandler to prevent aggressive panhandling. The Turlock Police Department needs assistance from the public to enforce these codes.

Specifically on Municipal Code 5-26-02, Williams said that a witness is needed not only to report, but also to prosecute.

“If you are the victim of aggressive solicitation please call us, please leave your name, please let us contact you, and please cooperate with the investigation so that we can hold the person accountable for what they’ve done,” said Williams.

There are also differences on how police can enforce these codes on private, public, or quasi-public property.

Williams also reiterated what Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson said before the aggressive panhandler municipal code was created: don’t give panhandler money.

“It’s a complex issue, there are a number of reasons why people will panhandle,” said Williams. “… Basically, they panhandle because they can."

“If we could, as a community, maybe take the position to donate that money instead to a cause that is in town instead of to individuals it might encourage those individuals to seek those services that are already established." 

Comments 12

  1. the truth says:
    Yes it's all over Turlock even at biglots on Saturday mourning how about the guy whose been around for about a year with his I need a beer sign on goldenstate blvd. And Berkeley what a nice introduction to Turlock but another thing to consider is he's been around this long because people keep giving him beer and money and im sure he's drunk in public our officers need to do there job and quit trying to put it on us you cant clean up are streets when you allow it and people stop giving them money and booze you aren't helping
  2. Victoria says:
    It would be great if you could let your readers know about the great organizations in Turlock that exist to aid the less fortunate. That way, instead of simply being encouraged to "tattle tale", they can actually get to the root of the problem and maybe make a positive impact. The following organizations are just a few, off the top of my head, that I am aware of in Turlock:

    United Samaritan's Foundation
    Salvation Army
    Home Community church (offers meals once a month)
    And I am sure a lot of other churches offer services as well

    Instead of calling the cops right off the bat, perhaps people could be kind enough to treat these individuals like the human beings they are and direct them to the appropriate services. If, at this point, the "panhandler" becomes aggressive or refuses to stop begging for cash, calling the cops would be appropriate.

    Believe it or not, most people in poverty are simply victims of circumstance and did not get their by way of personal misdeed. As more privileged individuals, we have a duty to serve them, not oppress them. I acknowledge that there are those who may have substance abuse problems, psychiatric problems, or are just plain lazy / incompetent - however, these are problems that need to be addressed. It does no good to the community to further suppress these individuals.
  3. MAC says:
    Just try to give them a coupon (those gift cards you buy at Carls jr or McDonald...I guess they still sell them) And just see what they say and do. That (food) is not what they want it for. Don't be so naïve, I have done it time and time again and that is NOT what they want it for. I have stopped trying, and there are too many places that feed them for nothing. Offer them some drugs, alcohol, and see how sweet they will be to you. STOP contributing to there habit. If people would STOP they would Stop! I knew some of them over the years and have asked them how much they make a day, NOW PAY ATTENTION, $400.00 a day average and between Thanksgiving and Christmas $1200.00 a DAY. TAX FREE, plus they get SSDI because they are disabled. that qualifies them addicts and alcoholic is NOW considered a disease, and they qualify for disability. So you tax payers are paying them twice. Don't be so dumb. If I hadn't of worked in an area where they thrived I wouldn't have believed it either. But I did and have almost wished I could lower my standards and stand out there. That's a heck of a lot more money than I could ever make and tax free!
  4. Worker says:
    I work at a retail pharmacy and it is private property and they are not allowed to ask people for money on private property, but people keep giving them money, which we tell them not too and then they come in and buy booze, that's all they want the money for. I know that there are some out there that really want food or help but the ones I have been in contact with DO NOT want help from these places because they can't drink or do drugs there. We kick people out of the store a lot because they steal items and try to bring it back for cash, which without a receipt no cash will be given only store credit and if course that's not what they want. We get complaints from the customers and we ask the panhandlers to leave and if they won't we call the PD.
  5. Old Turlock says:
    Well said Victoria!
  6. Yeah right says:
    I would've gave the cranked out lady on Hawkeye money to keep her clothes on Turlick is feeding the disease of alcohol and drug use yes there are organizations here but they got rules like be sober so quit giving them money so they can sober up
  7. Turlock Christians Fail says:
    What would Jesus do? Obviously the hypocritical Christians in Turlock are not reading the Bible. It's much easier to talk about being a Christian, right DJ?
  8. WWJD says:
    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Matthew 25:15 Greek five talents … two talents … one talent; also throughout this parable; a talent was worth about 20 years of a day laborer’s wage.

    New International Version (NIV)

    Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
    Matthew 24Matthew 26
  9. truth says:
    In the Bible it says to be good stewards with your money and be wise. It doesn't say nothing about handing it over to the drunk and dope fiends who gave up everyone and everything that should've mattered to them the ones that they hurt that tried to help them but yeah keep them drunk and on drugs people that's what your supporting every time you give them money go ahead you can fix their problems. You cant help someone that doesn't want help. Also the Bible says not to judge and to say Christians in Turlock are Hypocrites is being very judgemental
  10. What would Jesus do...really says:
    To those who are quick to say oh but what would Jesus do. Have you actually thought about that? Or are you just sitting in your recliner at home judging how everyone else should handle the situation. Way to be a Christian example to those watching. If you really want to argue what would Jesus do..why are you not taking these people in every night to have dinner at your home and offer free room and board? Because that is NOT what Jesus would do. If you recall Jesus had a lot to say about laziness (Proverbs 6:6, 9-11; 10:4-5, 26; 12:24; 13:4; 15:19; 18:9; 19:15, 24; 20:4, 13; 21:25-26; 23:21; 24:30-31, 33-34; 26:14-16; Ecclesiastes 4:5; 10:18; Isaiah 56:10; Ezekiel 16:49; Matthew 20:6-7; 25:26-27; Romans 12:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11; 1 Timothy 5:13; Hebrews 6:10). Which he did not take lightly. They took care of those out of their luck during Jesus' day, but if you recall it was those within their own community and only those who TRULY needed it...handicap, widows, elderly and so on. Not those abusing the system and using handouts to feed their habits. "If you don't work you don't eat. And now we are getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for nothing's are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get work immediately-no excuses, no arguments-and earn their own keep. Friends don't slack in doing your duty." 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Remember the prodigal son? He ended up turning from his sinful and begging ways because no one would give him a hand out! He came back home after he couldn't get a free ride from the world. Sometimes the best thing you can do for a person is tough love and making them earn their keep...being a crutch to keep them in their cycle of poverty and addictions does not help. That has been proven time and time again. Why do you think the homeless population is multiplying by the day in Turlock? The police have even stated that most of the beggars do not even live in our community, they come here for the day and head back home after their shift. They are coming from all around to support their lifestyle because they can..thanks to people like you that imply it's a Christians job to sit back passively and let people take advantage of our community because "that's what Jesus would do." However, you are picking a choosing out of context from the bible and leaving out the facts. Jesus also had a righteous anger that would NEVER allow this kind of behavior.
  11. Samuel says:
    “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”
  12. Oh no... says:
    This thread turned into a bible thumper's wet dream and must be brought back to reality. Victoria and Old Turlock are sure dreaming, too. Guess what dreamers, these people don't want "help". They want to get drunk and cracked out and roll around in some dirty alley or urine-drenched homeless park, while smoking cigarettes they rolled from butts they collected off the dirty streets and making the area unlivable for anyone with standards. I've seen the things these people do and it has nothing to do with trying to get help or better their situations. They enjoy being street urchins and you're only being delusional if you believe otherwise. They are out begging for change and living in dumpsters because they are horrible people that have burned every bridge in their lives and no one who knows what they're really like will bother to take them in any longer. But yeah, keep giving them free sh.. because that's "what Jesus would do", sponsor a bunch of drunks, junkies and crackheads. lol

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