Panhandling is a complex issue for Downtown Durango. As a business owner, BID wants you to know what we are doing, what your rights are, and what you can do about this issue.
In April 2017, BID held a Panhandling Town Hall, then followed that up with an online survey. Over 500 responses were received to ideas BID suggested we explore as ways to mitigate this problem. BID’s work will fall into six broad categories:
As a business owner, it is within your rights to ask anyone to leave your private property. You merely have to ask the person to leave once, if they do not comply you can call non-emergency dispatch at 970-385-2900 to file a complaint. A Durango Police Department officer will arrive shortly.
If you observe any of the following behavior, BID encourages you to report it to the non-emergency dispatch number.
Public use of alcohol
Public use of marijuana
Smoking within 15 feet of a doorway
Blocking a sidewalk or an entrance to a business
Threatening or intimidating behavior
When you call in a complaint, be prepared to spend time with the responding officer when they arrive, and PRESS CHARGES. If you do not press charges there is not a lot the police can do. If you do press charges, they can write a citation to the person to appear in court. This means you need to be prepared to show up in court. Rarely do these cases go that far, but you need to be prepared for this should it occur.
If you can safely take a photo or video of the illegal behavior, do so as that is very helpful in documenting what occurred.
BID asks your business to consider joining our Make It Count campaign that asks people to not give to panhandlers, and instead to give to charity. Join us by displaying a Make It Count poster and a Make it Count Donation box.
Educate your employees on how to talk with customers about panhandlers. The message should be simple and consistent around do not give to panhandlers, give to charities instead.
If your business is frequented by panhandlers, explore BID’s 50/50 programs for flower boxes or bistro tables. We’ll split the cost with you to purchase these, which are ways to move panhandlers away from your building into the sidewalk, which is illegal to block. This also helps beautify Downtown.
Contact BID’s Executive Director Tim Walsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-375-5068 to learn more.
©2017 Durango Business Improvement District (BID)