• Downtown businesses concerned with aggressive panhandlers

    Updated:

    PITTSBURGH - Business owner Chris Weck put benches in front of his store downtown for customers to use. But he says quite often it's not the customers sitting there -- more often it's people asking for money outside of his shop.

    "Some people can get really aggressive," Weck said. "They'll come and sit here and start asking for money and we have to go ask them to move. And some people can get really aggressive a guy started trying to start threatening me and I'm not going to deal with it so then I have to go in and call the authorities it's just too much." 

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    Dan Gilman, the chief of staff for Mayor Bill Peduto, told Chanel 11 panhandling is part of city life across the country.

    "Every downtown in America is seeing it and you're gonna have it downtown because that's where your social service providers are it's usually where your homeless shelters are. It's where your jail is, your court houses are, it's where bus routes change, it's your city center for a reason," he said.

    Still, Gilman said, Pittsburgh Police have nearly tripled the number of officers in the downtown area in the past month and the public safety director has walked through downtown with the mayor to experience what is happening firsthand.


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