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Pueblo police encourage people not to give to panhandlers

By Carl Winder, Multimedia Journalist,
Published On: Dec 12 2013 08:58:10 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 14 2013 05:34:05 PM CST

Pueblo police has seen a rise in panhandlers since January. They made a video to encourage people not to give to panhandlers, but there are people who panhandle to survive because United Way President Angela Aragon said the poverty level is high in Pueblo.

PUEBLO, Colo. -

Pueblo police made a video encouraging people not to give to panhandlers.

Officers have seen an increase in panhandlers since January.

Pueblo resident Derek Peasley said he likes to help people, but he agrees with Pueblo police's message because he believes panhandlers take advantage of peoples' generosity.

"(Panhandlers) will always come back for more if they get away with the first time; that can be problematic for the city and people," Peasley said.

Pueblo police said most of the time panhandlers use the money given to them to fuel their addictions, and they also contribute to littering and other environmental issues. But panhandlers said they don't have another choice.

"It's pretty hard to get a job when you don't have a place to live, or a place to stay," said Anthony, who requested his last name not be used.

Anthony is unemployed and panhandling to survive, but he is looking for more.

"I'm just trying to get a couple bucks to eat. I'm looking for a job," Anthony said.

Pueblo police encourages people to give money to charitable organizations, but United Way President Angela Aragon feels there are too many mouths to feed, and she understands why people panhandle.

"There is so much need in this community, we have a high poverty level, we are usually number one or two in the state," Aragon said.

If a person panhandles in Pueblo, they will receive a $35 citation. In Colorado Springs it's a misdemeanor.