S.F. agency identifies pushy panhandlers

San Francisco, meet your aggressive panhandler: more than likely, a white man in his fifties.

Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 24 of this year, San Francisco Police handed out 625 panhandling citations to 147 people. Of those 147, 39 were deemed “aggressive” by city officials for receiving five or more citations.

Those 39 aggressive panhandlers account for 72 percent of the 625 citations, according to data from the Human Services Agency, an average of more than 11 panhandling citations per aggressive offender.

The San Francisco Human Services Agency began collecting information from the police citations to target repeat offenders and offer them services to improve quality of life.

Eighty-two percent of the chronic panhandlers were men, and 51 percent were white. Forty-six percent of the 39 were between 50 and 59 years old, according to the data.

“Thirty-nine seems to me a very manageable number,” said Trent Rhorer, the executive director of the Human Services Agency. “That doesn’t seem like very many to me.”

The chronic panhandler information was part of a broader release of data about the number of “quality-of-life” citations in The City this year. Quality-of-life citations include: alcohol-related infractions, panhandling, camping, trespassing, public urination and others.

Of the 2,546 quality-of-life citations handed out this year through Aug. 24, 1,175 were alcohol-related infractions, and 90 percent of those were first-time offenders, or “partiers” in The City, Rhorer said Monday.

There were also 269 citations for camping, 213 for trespassing and 78 for public urination.

But without The City’s “partiers” racking up citations, panhandlers and the aggressive accounted for large segment of the quality-of-life citations during the first eight months of the year.

The agency will begin to target the aggressive panhandlers for social services or housing interventions in order to offer them the help they might need, Rhorer said.

But finding these individuals jobs may not be the appropriate approach because analysis of the 39 individuals finds almost half of them are either disabled or temporarily disabled, Rhorer said at the Monday meeting.

“Work might not be the correct alternative,” he said.

By the numbers

147 panhandlers received 625 citations from Jan. 1 to Aug. 24

75 locations where panhandling citations are most likely to occur

39 of 147 panhandlers are “aggressive,” meaning they received five or more panhandling violations

72 percent of the “aggressive” panhandlers received 447 of the 625 citations

Profile of an ‘aggressive’ panhandler

82% are male

18% are female

51% are white

49% are black

41% are 30-49 years old

46% are between 50-59

8% are 60 or older</p>

41% are homeless

dsmith@examiner.com

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