South Miami tired of panhandlers and is making moves to do something about it

South Miami is creating an ordinance to deal with panhandlers.

SOUTH MIAMI, Florida – You see them on the side of the road, walking up and down busy highways and streets walking up to cars begging for money. South Miami says panhandlers in their city are approaching people while they are eating outside at restaurants and sometimes even aggressively demanding money.

Some of South Miami’s panhandlers offer to save parking spots by standing in them or directing drivers to the perfect parking spot in exchange for money.

A new ordinance that passed its first vote at the city commission meeting on April 5 will make it illegal to panhandle. The ordinance needs to be approved a second time before becoming law.

The city does not have a current ordinance that addresses panhandling, but is planning on amending Section 15-8 of its Code of Ordinances to include language related to dealing with an issue that “has become increasingly problematic.”

Part of the proposal stated that “panhandling has subjected its residents, tourists, and business customers to abuse, harassment, and intimidation.”

If the ordinance is adopted, panhandling will be restricted:

  • On any public transportation vehicle or bus or at a location where public transportation stops.
  • Within ten feet of an automated teller machine, any entrance or exit to a building containing an automated teller machine.
  • From a person who is inside of a restaurant, bar, or business.
  • On private property, if the owner, tenant, lawful occupant, or employee . . . has asked the person not to solicit on the property or has posted a sign clearly indicating that such solicitation is prohibited, not allowed, or not welcome on the property.
  • From any operator or occupant of a motor vehicle on a public street in exchange for blocking, occupying, or reserving a public space, or directing the occupant to a public parking space.

Violators could face a fine of $200 or up to 30 days in jail. The penalties could be higher for aggressive individuals, according to the city.

See the proposal below.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local