Panhandling in Blaine
While residents and businesses in Blaine are generous, giving money to panhandlers can have unintended consequences and does not provide long-term solutions for those in need. Many communities in the metro area experience panhandlers. The courts have ruled that panhandlers are protected by the First Amendment and may stand passively and display their signs. However, they may not behave aggressively or interfere with traffic flow. If you notice aggressive behavior or interference with traffic, please call 911 so an officer may respond. The Blaine Police Department takes a proactive and compassionate approach with panhandlers. The department works hard to connect them with local resources for help.
Tips for Responding to Panhandling
If you are approached by a panhandler or someone soliciting money, the following tips may be helpful:
- Do not provide money to panhandlers. Politely say no or sorry. Pulling out your purse or wallet can also make you a potential victim of a crime.
- Another option, for those who feel comfortable, is to carry a bag with some food and basic hygiene supplies that you could hand out to those in need instead of giving money.
- Aggressive panhandling is illegal. If you feel threatened, call 911. Examples of aggressive behavior include:
- Confronting someone in a way that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily harm.
- Touching someone without their consent.
- Continuing to panhandle or follow someone after they have refused to give money.
- Intentionally blocking or interfering with the safe passage of a person or vehicle.
- Using obscene or abusive language toward someone while attempting to panhandle.
- Acting with intent to intimidate someone into giving money.
- If you would like to help people in need, donate wisely to the organizations that exist to help them. You can get the most positive results from your donation if you donate to charitable organizations.
A variety of resources and non-profit partners are available in Blaine and the greater metro area to help those who are in need. These organizations provide a food resources, assist with housing needs, and assess physical and mental health needs. Donating to these organizations helps support long-term solutions. A few resources for panhandlers and homeless people include:
- Hope for the Community is located in Blaine and feeds hundreds of families each week. Find out more at, hopeforthecommunity.com.
- Alexandra House works to empower victims of domestic and sexual violence, and inspire social change, through education, support, and advocacy. Find out more at alexandrahouse.org.
- Stepping Stone Emergency Housing is the only homeless shelter serving youth and adults in the five-county area of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott and Washington counties. Find out more at steppingstoneeh.org.
- Centennial Community Food Shelf has been helping meet the food needs of the community for many years. Find out more at centennialfoodshelf.org.
- The Salvation Army operates a food shelf out of the Anoka County Human Services Center in Blaine. Find out more at salvationarmynorth.org.
- Hope 4 Youth is a local non-profit working to provide pathways to end youth homelessness. Find out more at hope4youthmn.org
- United Way 2-1-1 provides referrals to resources and assistance for many issues. Call 211, or 651-291-0211. 211 is available 24 hours a day, every day.
Options for Businesses and Property Owners
Businesses and property owners can order panhandlers off their property and the police will assist in the notification and removal process. Additionally, police staff can give written notice that those parties may not return in accordance with Minnesota State Statute 609.605 Trespassing. This law states a person is in violation of state law if the person:
- Trespasses on the premises of another and, without claim of right, refuses to depart from the premises on demand of the lawful possessor.
- Occupies or enters the dwelling or locked or posted building of another, without claim of right or consent of the owner or the consent of one who has the right to give consent, except in an emergency situation.
People who violate the statute after notice are in violation of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or $1,000 fine.
If you have further questions about panhandling in Blaine please contact the Blaine Police Department at 763-785-6168.