According to the numbers, panhandling in Dublin is getting worse, not better.

Last year, Dublin police received 117 complaints of panhandling, compared to 85 already this year, said Heinz von Eckartsberg, Dublin's police chief.

"The 85 we've received this year would indicate an increase year to date," he said.

About a month has passed since city employees, at Dublin City Council's request, posted signs to educate residents about panhandling.

The city posted the signs at the most typical locations where panhandlers have been seen, von Eckartsberg said, including the southwest corner of Avery-Muirfield Drive at Perimeter Loop and Hospital Drive; Hospital Drive at the main entrance to the Avery Retail Center and the southwest corner of Sawmill Road and Martin Road.

Information also was posted on a sandwich sign for use at the northwest corner of Bridge and High streets.

"We currently have no plans to take them down," said von Eckartsberg.

In the city's experience, panhandlers have been resistant to accepting help from social-services agencies because they get enough money from passersby to sustain themselves, von Eckartsberg said. Police also have seen a number of panhandlers who ask for money to support a drug dependency.

"We are hopeful our signs will encourage motorists not to give money, which may encourage panhandlers to actually seek help," he said.

Police advise residents in vehicles to avoid rolling down their windows or engaging in conversation with people panhandling on the side of the road, von Eckartsberg said.

Dublin Mayor Greg Peterson said he has heard from many residents about panhandling.

"Dublin is concerned with the well-being of all those touched by this situation -- those driving our streets, our residents and the folks soliciting the money," Peterson said.

Panhandling creates a difficult and unsafe environment, typically at busy intersections, Peterson said, and those areas are not the proper places to provide help. The signs were intended to give information to residents to enable them to help people in the right way, Peterson said.

"We are continuing to analyze the situation to make sure we are providing the right resources for everyone," he said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

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