Fargo News

Summer uptick in panhandling highlights Fargo’s strict ordinances

As summer temperatures rise, residents of Fargo’s metropolitan areas have reported an increased incidence of public solicitation or “panhandling.” The City of Fargo maintains specific regulations to oversee this issue.

According to the Fargo city ordinance, “it shall be unlawful for any person to aggressively panhandle in any area within the City of Fargo.” The term “Aggressive Panhandling” encapsulates behavior aiming to intimidate others into donating money or goods. Examples include pursuing, addressing or approaching an individual in a way that might incite fear of immediate harm or criminal action; making unconsented physical contact; or intentionally obstructing a person’s free movement.

The city ordinance further stipulates conditions for permissible panhandling in Fargo. Solicitation is prohibited under the following circumstances: within a 20-foot radius of city streets, state highways, and on or off-ramps; on city street medians or roadways used by vehicles; within 20 feet of bus stops or crosswalks; on bridges or in tunnels on public roads; within 100 feet of a school or playground when children are present (excluding higher education institutions); within 20 feet of public restrooms entrances; within city parks; or within the Downtown Business District, unless representing a valid charitable organization, such as those acknowledged under 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code [29 U.S.C. 501(c)].

When we attempted to engage with several individuals soliciting on Friday, most expressed immediate needs for food, water, or money. However, when asked to discuss the resources available to them on camera, they collectively declined, citing a lack of English proficiency.

We sought a comment from the Fargo Police Department about the issue of panhandling. Although they opted not to provide an interview, a statement was submitted by the Neighborhood Services Division Captain, Chris Helmick. He noted, “The Fargo Police Department is aware that panhandling occurs throughout the city and receives complaints each year. However, we do not have data prepared to show whether or not there has been an increase in 2023. When officers respond to panhandling complaints, they often refer those individuals to resources in our community that may be able to help them. Rather than giving money to these individuals, we would strongly encourage community members consider donating to established organizations or charities who offer services for those who may be experiencing difficulties in their life.”

Hobert Worrell

Greetings to all. Since the year 2011, I have been diligently rising at the crack of dawn to pursue the latest happenings within our community. My journalistic journey commenced with working for a multitude of print publications, until eventually, I recognized the vast potential the digital realm had to offer. Consequently, I embarked on the creation of my own online news outlet. Today, as a publisher at Fargo News Now, I bear the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the quality and integrity of the content that graces your screens.

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