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Reported from my mobile device
This is still a huge issue.
I ate at Claire's Monday evening. Waiting to cross the light at College and Chapel, a friend and I were approached by a man who asked us for money, and upon being told that we didn't have any change, started in on the "Ain't I human just like you, don't I deserve to eat" line. He started saying that we should "treat him like a human being, just like us, we're all alike" by giving him paper money, and he kept up the badgering with great persistence. When the light changed and we finally crossed the street, he simply went to in front of TD Bank and started harassing someone else.
Thursday evening outside of ABP two women were working the corner begging around 7:30pm. One woman approached me as I waited for the crosswalk and nearly touched me, startling me in the torrential downpour. She started out sweetly asking for some money to buy some food, and then started demanding I go into ABP and use a credit card to purchase hot food for her. I told her there were several soup kitchens downtown, I was pretty sure one was over on Wall Street, she started whining about how "sure, sure, over there, you just want to send me over there" and then continued with the "I'm human" guilt line.
I spend a lot of time walking around downtown New Haven and eat there several days a week. With this constant badgering, I'm more and more inclined to take my business to North Haven, Orange, and Hamden, where I'm stuck with chain restaurants but can walk down the street in peace. Being approached while waiting for crosswalks makes stepping out into traffic and jaywalking look like an attractive option.
If nothing else, the downtown businesses and restaurants have to put an end to this loitering and begging and badgering. It's difficult to shake New Haven's image as a dangerous and undesirable place if someone visiting downtown for the first time is followed and harassed by multiple beggars. Living in cities for the last decade, I'm used to being asked for change. I'm not used to being followed, touched, guilt-tripped, badgered, or aggressively yelled at by beggars. I know times are bad, but this is just getting out of control.
Thanks for reporting this. Have you tried talking with the district police supervisor?
We need to be respectful to everyone in our community but behavior you describe as "yelling and touching" are obviously not appropriate, whether in a retail district or anywhere else.
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