PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Aggressive panhandling is now illegal in one Long Island village.
Downtown Patchogue is more popular than ever.
With new apartments built near the train station the area is packed with people going to the theater, local restaurants and shops.
“I think that where there’s people, there’s money and where there’s money, there are people asking for it,” Mayor Paul Pontieri said.
In the past six months, Pontieri said aggressive panhandlers have become more and more of a problem.
“We have a number of ATM machines that are on Main Street, we have a number of ATM machines and parking meters throughout the village, and we’re finding that people are beginning to congregate around those,” Pontieri said. “If somebody comes in they go to the Patchogue theater, they have a great experience there, they go to dinner, they go to their car and they get harassed and somebody follows them asking for money. I don’t want a person’s last experience in this village to be it being harassed by somebody.”
That’s why aggressive panhandling is now banned in the village.
“It’s about the safety of our visitors and our residents, it’s about being comfortable on Main Street and it’s about controlling the situation before it gets out of control,” Pontieri said.