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One piece of Downtown feeling safe to all who visit is how to address panhandling. Panhandling is a complex issue for Downtown Durango. As a business owner, BID wants you to know what your rights are and what you can do about this issue.

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, 970-385-2900.

Aggressive panhandling

Public intoxication

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. Email Tim to sign up. All monies donated to this camapign are given to a local charity.


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.


Help the Police help you: Complete/sign the Private Property Enforcement Letter. The Durango PD can enforce certain violations of State Statues and City Ordinances on private property without the owner/manager being present by having a letter on file with the Durango PD. Click Here to download the letter template. Complete and return it to the Durango Police Department to enhance protection of your business or property.

Contact BID’s Executive Director Tim Walsworth at timw@downtowndurango.org or call 970-375-5068 to learn more.

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