Beggars Will Need Permit to Seek Spare Change

By Wire Reports and NBC10.com Staff
|  Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013  |  Updated 6:51 AM CDT
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Atlantic City Requires Beggar Permits

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Doing this will require a permit.

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Anyone looking to beg is going to need to get permission first in one area town.

A South Jersey town now requires beggars to obtain permits and seeks to punish those who aggressively solicit donations.

The Middle Township ordinance defines aggressive begging as speaking to or following a person in a manner that would cause them to fear bodily harm or otherwise intimidating someone into giving money or goods.

The ordinance requires those who solicit money to obtain a permit at no charge and forbids solicitation by obstructing a pedestrian or vehicle, near an automated teller machine or bus or train stop, and in exchange for a service.

Fines start at $250 and include possible jail time.

Police Chief Christopher Leusner tells The Press of Atlantic City beggars who are not threatening and comply with the ordinance will not be punished.

"Someone walks by and says, 'Can you spare a dollar?' And they thank you, they keep on moving -- that's something that is protected by the First Amendment," Leusner told the paper. "That's not what we're targeting here. These are people that are making people feel unsafe."

Middle Township is a part of Cape May County and has about 16,000 residents.

Middle Township isn't the first area town to require begging permits. Nearby Atlantic City has had begging permits in place for the past three years.

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