The Dallas Police Department recently issued a “warning” against the homeless that has many citizens in disbelief. The Facebook post, dated February 12, suggests that offering money to panhandlers from your car is a serious threat to your safety, and encourages people to call the police instead of giving them a dollar.
Instead of offering any actual cases where homeless panhandlers have stolen a vehicle or attacked someone, the Dallas PD talks about one homeless person with a criminal history and asks ominously, “Do you want this person in your car???”
“Giving to Panhandlers May Be More Risky Than You Think…
- You’ve heard from the Dallas Police Department that Panhandling in the City of Dallas is illegal.
- You’ve also heard the recommendations from your police officers to NOT give money to those who approach your vehicle while in traffic for your own SAFETY.
- We recognize that the great citizens of Dallas care about those who are in need of assistance, but would you willingly invite a VIOLENT convicted felon into your vehicle??
NOT ALL of those who panhandle will be convicted felons or violent offenders, but the risk is very real when you open your window and your wallet that you will encounter an individual with a dangerous criminal history.
If you rolled your window down on February 4, 2016 at Jim Miller and R L Thornton Freeway to hand individuals money, you placed yourself in substantial risk. Southeast Patrol arrested a panhandler at that location for Solicitation by Coercion after he approached several females in rapid succession and requested money, claiming it was for his children. A subject check of this individual revealed the panhandler had a Probation Violation for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (which means he has been convicted of a VERY VIOLENT OFFENSE) and for Felony Theft. This individual has over 120 offenses and over 40 arrests for his adult criminal history record with the state of Texas alone. Do you want this person in your car???
Please Use Caution:
1) DO NOT ROLL YOUR WINDOW DOWN for these individuals
2) Keep your CAR DOORS LOCKED
3) REPORT the activity to 9-1-1”
Is offering a homeless person money from your car more dangerous than any other random time and place where a carjacking could occur? The Dallas PD does not produce any evidence for its case. Panhandling takes place at busy intersections, not dark side roads with hardly any traffic. People are generally smart enough to know when they shouldn’t open their window for a stranger.
Even if it were true that a panhandler’s past unrelated behavior means that he is currently a threat, it is a blatant fallacy of composition to suggest that all panhandlers are therefore dangerous.
The more important issue is that the state feels it has the right to criminalize the act of asking for money, and goes even further by issuing propaganda such as the Facebook post. Sympathy for the less fortunate is a noble human characteristic that is more powerful than the rules and regulations of government.
This is evident in many of the comments under the Dallas PD Facebook post.
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“Very fallacious conflation of panhandling and carjacking in the chosen wording here. While I can understand the message, I strongly disapprove of the dishonest language at play. This person was likely arrested in violation of his constitutional rights on this occasion, and there is no mention of any violent crime being committed this time. DPD knows full well his past crimes would be inadmissible in court for this panhandling offense, but they are sure intent on begging for an emotionally driven response where legal process doesn't apply. Maybe DPD can explain how arresting someone for a nonviolent panhandling offense will help the person in need, or how an additional charge (and therefore an additional barrier to rejoining productive society) helps to reduce recidivism?”
“Yikes! And I'm the one who always has a glovebox full of dollar bills to give the stoplight "beggars" who look really needy. But what IF they ARE really needy? How can we turn our backs on people who have nothing when we have, comparatively, so much?”
“And the Lord sayith: Give unto those in need as long as they have no criminal past and haven't committed the crime of asking you for money. Now go forth and help all in need promptly after doing full background checks on each one before giving them anything. You must be the judge, do not leave it up to the Lord for I am busy.”
“Want to know what's even better then calling the police when you see a homeless person asking for money? Actually giving money when you can, either that or just leave them alone. Panhandling is the only thing some if these people have left, criminalizing homelessness is absolutely wrong. Those of us with some resemblance of a moral compase have a moral obligation to ignore these kinds of bad laws.”
“So if 80% of homeless people I see are NOT violent I should ignore them because there's a chance I might run into one? I'll keep showing compassion, thank you very much. Oh, and I'll probably open carry while doing so.”
““Theft is when someone is forced to pay like in the case taxes; I am forced to pay taxes which goes to the police department to pay for their weapon of civilian destruction, animal cages, and payroll. Charity is an action from the heart. Because I choose to feed or supply homeless, I am taking the risk of being vulnerable to predators; taking this charitable risk should be solely in the realm of my freedom of choice. Understanding that risk and equipping myself with the appropriate protection, should be your warning as a public service. Steering people away from charitable acts of kindness is quite hypocritical when the entire organization spouting the threats of fear is facilitated through coercion, taxes. Protect yourself from danger but do what you feel is right.”
“DPD is a far greater threat to my life, not to mention my liberty, than panhandlers ever will be. at least the panhandlers will ask nicely and not kill me if they don't get money. Claiming that panhandling is dangerous while regularly forcing people to stop on the side of busy roads so that they can be "legally" extorted for money through threats of violence is hypocrisy at it's finest, though I would expect nothing more from DPD.”
“***PSA*** Ignore the poor. Their troubles would never befall someone you know. They are smelly, dirty, and full of fleas. If you see a poor person approaching you or someone you know, bear mace them. If they are hungry, eat a sandwich in front of them while dropping as many crumbs as possible. The pain will provide incentive for them to move on from Dallas. If they are cold and wet, it is permissible to throw a bowl of sugar on them. The candy coating will seal in the poor and prevent an outbreak of poor. Remember, poor people are dangerous and you should stay away from anyone with poor at all times. If you do go near a poor person, you may become poor yourself.”