MADISON, Wis. (WISC-TV) - They were a fixture on Madison’s main roads, but the number of panhandlers in the area has drastically decreased following a city ordinance
The law banning people from standing in medians or approaching cars was passed April 8. Four months into the change police are calling it a success for the city. However, surrounding communities are still working on their own solutions.
Madison police Capt. Cory Nelson told WISC-TV (TODAY'S TMJ4 sister station) this time last year there were dozens of panhandlers on Madison’s streets. Since the ordinance was passed, the police department has only issued 14 tickets. It's focusing on educating panhandlers on the new rules.
"Some were receptive. Some were not receptive. Some were upset and said there were no other options for them,” Nelson said. “We tried to explain to them that there were other options in the community for housing and job training, that kind of thing.”
Madison police said many of the panhandler shave taken them up on their suggestions. Others, however, have taken their business to nearby cities and towns.
"We have basically gotten a handle on our issue so much so that now those individuals are moving to communities who haven’t quite figured it out or reconciled what their community response will be,” Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said.
Other municipalities are working on putting together their own bans. Fitchburg passed an ordinance last month that Mayor Jason Gonzalez said is "near verbatim to Madison’s ordinance." Gonzalez also said the city alerted nearby Oregon and Verona of the ordinance. Sun Prairie police told News 3 similar legislation is in the works in its city.
A few panhandlers pop up within the city of Madison but Madison police said that for the most part, the ban has worked.