On April 20, Front Door, LLC., owner of popular near-campus apartments such as the Cornado Building, alerted students of an ‘aggressive panhandler’ targeting the midtown area. According to the notification sent to tenants of Front Door properties, the panhandler will attempt to persuade targets to give him money and even follow his targets to an ATM. The release also said that he is “very aggressive” and has targeted areas near Schnucks grocery store, the intersections of Spring Ave. and Lindell Blvd., the intersection of Grand Blvd. and Lindell Blvd., and the intersection of Grand Blvd. and Laclede Blvd.
Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Field Supervisor Pasquale Signorino said that students should not be obligated to give money to anyone, and said that students should report incidents of panhandling on campus.
“Any time this happens on campus, we want to know, so that we may deter it,” Signorino said.
Signorino also said that, if encountered, some of the most effective methods to avoid a panhandler are to ignore them and keep walking. If this does not work, he said to firmly say no and recommended contacting DPSEP or the St. Louis Police. Signorino said that students without a cell phone should run ask for help in a nearby building.
“There are many organizations that are out there that help people asking for money. DPSEP or the St. Louis Police Department officers can come out and suggest social organizations that can help panhandlers rather than giving them cash that generally doesn’t go towards what it is asked for,” Signorino said.
Representatives from Front Door said that the company is working with DPSEP and the St. Louis Police to prevent panhandling incidents.
“FrontDoor is currently working with DPS and the police to prevent this from happening,” the statement said. “However, until this panhandler is removed from the area, FrontDoor and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department ask that you not engage in conversation with this individual.”
Front Door also offered ways to help the needy without giving to panhandlers.
“Please give what you can of your spare change or time to St. Patrick’s Center, another local homeless shelter or the food pantry on campus,”the statement said.