Lawrence police urge people to ignore panhandlers

LAWRENCE | Lawrence police are encouraging people to ignore panhandlers on private property and just walk away from them.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports panhandling in public areas in the city is legal as long as panhandlers avoid prohibited behavior. Lawrence city prosecutor Jerry Little says it's rare for a panhandling case to go to prosecution.

Lawrence resident Colleen Sims says she has encountered women several times recently who claim to be a victim of domestic violence and ask for money for bus fare or gas.

But Sims says she has seen one of the women drive off in a newer car, and she's offended that someone would use domestic violence as a pretense for soliciting money.

Police spokesman Sgt. Matt Sarna says police classify calls about aggressive panhandlers as nuisance calls.