Business Owners Fight Against Panhandlers
Businesses in part of Monroe County are banding together to put an end to panhandlers. Business owners said they are harassing customers and employees.
Several businesses in East Stroudsburg have started placing flyers in their windows encouraging people to take action.
This issue is on Crystal Street, a street home to many local businesses.
Most of those businesses have a yellow flier hanging in their windows that reads, “Are you sick and tired of being panhandled? Are your customers frightened and harassed? Call the police for every incident.”
“We put it up as a solidarity movement with all the local business owners because there’s been a lot of riff raff that has been on the sidewalk,” said Dr. Lorraine Alexis, a chiropractor.
That “riff raff” Dr. Alexis said, includes people asking for money and some people harassing business owners, employees, and customers, like Victoria Mavis.
“A lot of times people will be by you and kinda looking around as you feed the meter and I was approached once, ‘Did I have extra money’, and I’m like, it makes it uncomfortable,” said Mavis of East Stroudsburg.
Stroud Area Regional Police said they met with the owner of Liztech, the creator of the fliers, in November after she witnessed some of her employees being harassed. Soon after, she started handing out the fliers, asking other businesses along this street to join her in her campaign.
“What we’re trying to do is encourage people it has happened to, if it ever does happen, to simply call 911 and get the police involved and they’ll help clean it up,” said Dr. Alexis.
Another business, Royal Caribbean Bakery and Restaurant, said the riff raff isn’t reaching her as much, but she said she joined in the campaign as a move to show support.
“We team up together and we support each other and there’s a unity. We know we can depend on each other. That’s why we support her,” said Audrey Snape, owner of Royal Caribbean Bakery and Restaurant.
Stroud Area Regional Police said they do patrol the area, but can’t devote an officer there full time.
They also said they need victims to step forward and file a report because many times the victim doesn’t.