City of Hampton asks people to stop giving money to panhandlers

HAMPTON, Va. - The city of Hampton has put up signs to discourage panhandling. The signs read,

"Please don't encourage panhandling. The city and local nonprofits help the homeless."

City officials believe giving money to nonprofit organizations go farther and will help more people. The signs were planned to be posted along several streets including Coliseum Drive, Mercury Boulevard and King Street, and on Hampton Roads Center Parkway.

Many cities in Hampton Roads have ordinances to control panhandling.

Portsmouth's ordinance reads that a panhandler can be charged with a misdemeanor if they approach others aggressively. This includes harassment, insisting that people should hand out money, cause physical harm or intentional blocking people from walking away.

The same rules apply in Newport News, but panhandlers cannot grab people's attention by playing music, holding signs or having street performances. It's also illegal at bus stops, within 20 feet of public property, before sunrise and after sunset in the city.