Police to crackdown on panhandlers in Barrie

News source from CTV News

Barrie’s homeless crisis is spilling into the streets as more people turn to panhandling in order to survive.

Drivers are probably noticing more people begging for money at Highway 400 off-ramps along Mapleview Drive and Bayfield Street.

One man, who didn’t want to be identified, says he’s fallen through the cracks and has nowhere else to turn. He’s making $60 a day by begging for money.

“What do they want me to do? Steal from stores? I’d rather panhandle and not go to jail,” another man says.

Panhandling along Highway 400 is illegal under the Safe Streets Act. Meanwhile, Barrie’s bylaw enforcement officers issue tickets of $65 to anyone asking for money on sidewalks.

Barrie police are warning drivers of the dangers of panhandling and scammers. They’d prefer drivers reach out to them and to various charities if they want to make a donation to those who desperately need it.

“We’ll put them into contact with other services. Help for people who are homeless not for panhandlers,” says Barrie police Const. Sarah Bamford.

Those with concerns for the safety of panhandlers and drivers are asked to contact Barrie police.

Officials plan to ramp up their patrols as we head towards summer.

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