Some new signs say it's illegal to panhandle along freeway exit ramps in Columbus.
Columbus Police Lt. Jack Harris says cars slow down and delay the flow of traffic when they give panhandlers money. Police say panhandlers who stand on the freeway are a danger to themselves and to drivers. New signs have appeared around the city over the last few weeks now prohibiting panhandling at exit ramps. The signs imply that panhandling is illegal citywide, but city code only prohibits "aggressive" panhandling, and panhandling that impedes traffic. Police requested the city install them to help prevent crashes and because they say panhandlers living under an Interstate 670 bridge have caused trash to pile up. Panhandlers on the freeway can be cited. The penalties increase as they receive more citations and can result in jail time.