South Miami tired of beggars and taking steps to fix it

SOUTH MIAMI, Florida – You see them on the side of the road, walking along highways and busy streets, walking up to cars begging for money. South Miami says beggars in their city approach people while eating out at restaurants and sometimes even aggressively ask for money.

Some of South Miami’s beggars offer to save parking spots by standing or directing drivers to the perfect parking spot in exchange for money.

A new ordinance that was first voted on at the April 5 city commission meeting will make begging illegal. The ordinance must be approved a second time before becoming law.

The city does not have a current ordinance that addresses begging, but plans to amend section 15-8 of its ordinance code to include language related to handling an issue that “has become increasingly more problematic.

Part of the proposal stated that “Begging has subjected its residents, tourists and business customers to abuse, harassment and intimidation”.

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If the ordinance is passed, begging will be restricted:

  • In any public transport vehicle or bus or at a place where public transport stops.

  • Within ten feet of an ATM, any entrance or exit to a building containing an ATM.

  • From a person who is inside a restaurant, bar or business.

  • On private property, if the owner, tenant, lawful occupier or employee . . . asked the person not to solicit on the property or posted a sign clearly stating that such soliciting is prohibited, unauthorized or not welcome on the property.

  • Any driver or occupant of a motor vehicle on a public road in exchange for blocking, occupying or reserving a public space, or directing the occupant to a public parking space.

Violators could face a $200 fine or up to 30 days in jail. Penalties could be higher for aggressive individuals, according to the city.

See proposal below.

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