The City of Plano has recently installed signs at 25 busy intersections that are meant to discourage people from giving money to panhandlers.
The signs read "Keep Our Pedestrians Safe" and feature a symbol, similar to a No Smoking sign, that tells people not to hand out money.
"The reason for the signs is to discourage motorists from giving money directly to people who are soliciting in the intersections," said Assistant Police Chief Sandra Tomeo at a municipal meeting last week. "Because what happens is, when money is offered to them, they step out into the roadway to get it from the people in the cars. That is dangerous for those citizens, as well as a distraction for other drivers."
Tomeo stressed that it is not illegal to stand on a median strip and ask for money, but that it is illegal once someone steps into the road.
Instead of giving money to panhandlers, representatives of the City of Plano encourage people who want to help those who are in need to donate to organizations like nonprofits or churches that are doing direct outreach.