Big thanks to a couple of readers for helping me remember the term I couldn’t think of in my earlier panhandler posts – “authorization of agency.” That’s the form business owners can fill out against particular individuals, stating that those individuals are not allowed on their property, or within a certain distance from the outside of the business.
Once an authorization of agency has been filed against a particular person, he or she can be arrested for criminal trespassing if seen on the premises. This is true even if the business owner isn’t there – if a cop happens to walk by and sees the the person, he or she can be arrested on the spot.
I hung out in a coffee shop downtown all the time a few years ago… the owner had authorizations of agency filed against many of the bums, and he rarely had trouble with panhandling in front of his shop. I remember a comment he made to me, that if all the Downtown businesses banded together and filed authorizations of agency against all the bums, then they wouldn’t have anywhere left to beg.
Now, the thing is, in order to file an AofA against a person, you have to know their name. That’s an opportunity to Downtowners to band together and help one another, if we all share information about these guys. For over a year friends and I have kicked around an idea of a panhandler photo album online. The idea started as a joke, but now I’m wondering if this could turn out to be something really useful in taking our neighborhood back from the bums.
What do you think? E-mail me if you have ideas on how we could work together.