Responding to requests for help.
Panhandling is a challenge for many cities, and one that affects Wichita as well. The Wichita Police Department is working diligently within Downtown Wichita to keep you and your property safe, but they need your help. If you wish to report an incident of aggressive panhandling, call 911.
What is "panhandling"? Panhandlers are strangers that approach you on the street to request you for money, which will most likely be used to buy drugs or alcohol. The biggest misconception about panhandlers is that they are homeless. The majority of panhandlers are not homeless, and the vast majority of homeless people do not panhandle. It is important to remember that street vendors, outdoor performers and other people providing a legitimate service with a valid permit are not panhandlers.
Why say "no"? When someone on the street asks for "spare change" it is difficult to know how the money will be used. Money given to panhandlers is often used to purchase alcohol or drugs, not food, clothing or shelter. Don’t give money or anything of value to a panhandler.
What you should do if you are approached and asked for money:
• Acknowledge the person, then politely and firmly say "No, thank you."
• Offer to connect the panhandler with social service programs by calling 911.
Helping the homeless. Wichita is working to help people who are homeless and reduce the number of aggressive panhandlers. Many resources are available throughout the community to help homeless individuals.
Visit wichita.gov to learn more about the City of Wichita's H.O.T. team (Homeless Outreach Team) and to download a brochure outlining resources to help homeless individuals.