Panhandling behavior along median will take time to change, SCPD says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I see the new No Panhandling Signs are up now -- good job. But I have noticed they do not discourage people from still pan handling. What's next? I also wonder what happens 'when', not 'if', the signs become defaced in the near future. From what I have witnessed, the couple that have been on the median at Capitola Road and Soquel Avenue for the last three years may have settled on their new spot at Soquel drive and 41st Avenue. As of today, three different people on Soquel and Capitola Road have been panhandling with no regard to the sign. Any thoughts? Regards, Kim Leonardich via email A: "The signs are a tool that can significantly enhance our ability to conduct enforcement in these areas," said Lt. Dan Flippo of the Santa Cruz Police Department. "Enforcement is done to correct or discourage illegal behavior. Unfortunately, this behavior does not magically change once enforcement starts." This long pattern of activity on medians will require "a sustained and continued effort to reduce the recurrence of this activity," he continued. The department has began efforts to enforce this law and a change in behavior has yet to be seen," said Flippo. "This is not dissimilar to other vehicle code laws" he said. "It took several years for the driving public to wear seat belts on a regular basis after that safety law was enacted. I am confident that we will make progress and see results of our efforts in the future, but this problem has been sustained and tolerated for numerous years and is not something that will change overnight or with the posting of a sign." Buckle Up California seat belt campaign The CHP is telling holiday road warriors to make sure they and everyone inside their motorized carriage buckle up before heading out. "Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year," said Joe Farrow, CHP commissioner. "As the volume of traffic on the roadways increases so does the risk of being involved in a serious or deadly collision." Officers will be keeping an eye out for people who are not wearing their seat belts during a maximum enforcement period that begins 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27 and runs through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. The effort is in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Buckle UP America - Every Trip. Every Time" campaign. "The simple act of using a seat belt or child safety seat, every time you get into a vehicle can be the difference between life and death in the event of a collision," Farrow said. During last year's Thanksgiving holiday, 44 people died in traffic collisions on California roads. That's and increase of more than a 37 percent over the previous year. Among the 25 people who died inside an automobile within the CHP's jurisdiction, 40 percent were not wearing a seat belt. Officers also will be on the lookout for aggressive and impaired drivers. Last Thanksgiving, more than 1,300 people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Anyone who witnesses someone driving aggressively or impaired should report them by calling 9-1-1.
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