Volume 93, Issue 68

Tuesday, February 1, 2000


NEWS

UWO mourns students

Money talks at King's forum

Psych prof accused of racism

SCAPA proposes revamping of bachelor-level degrees

Toronto TAs to settle with admin

Prez candidates face off with media

Funding gets the checkered flag

New anti-panhandling legislation comes into effect

Theft remains a big problem for UPD

Briefs

Experience not going to get in Connell's way

Stuff

New anti-panhandling legislation comes into effect



By Clare Elias
Gazette Staff

Legislation deterring aggressive panhandling and getting squeegee kids off the streets is now law under the Ontario Safe Streets Act.

Previously, panhandling was addressed under the Highway Traffic Act, but now individuals caught begging with abusive language or on public roadways will face possible conviction and given a criminal record, said Tracey Frizell, media relations officer for the London Police.

She explained the crux of the situation was based largely in Toronto, where not paying squeegeers has produced occurences with relatively severe consequences.

While Frizell said comparing Toronto to London was the same as comparing apples to oranges, she added there was still a need to enforce the new law in London.

"We have a handful of squeegee kids and they don't cause any problems, but if there are calls of complaints then we will have to respond and use our discretion."

The "discretion" is comparable to property damages, she explained, in which the police assess the severity of the situation and either administer a warning, a ticket or place the onus on the parties involved to determine the best course of action.

There are few reports of aggressive squeegee kids in the London community and most are concerned for the safety of the kids interfering with traffic, Frizell said.

Joe Swan, London's Ward 2 councillor, said the public would prefer money to be spent on social programs geared at the youth rather than increasing police departments. "I think there are more pressing things for the police. Our crime rate is going up and there is a growing concern of gang behaviour," Swan said.

Rose Cino, media relations manager for Covenant House in Toronto, said efforts should be directed to alternatives so there will be fewer kids on the streets. Covenant House, which houses an average of 80 people each night, is straining to accommodate those individuals, Cino explained.

Brendan Crowley, spokesperson for the Ontario Attorney General, said the government was doing many things to address the funding of social programs. "Two hundred and seventeen million dollars was spent to implement 214,000 jobs for the youth."


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Copyright The Gazette 2000