Police crack down on panhandling in Frederick

An undercover police officer who was asked for money handed over $5 on a suburban Maryland street Monday and then called in another officer who made an arrest on a panhandling charge, authorities said.

The arrest was Monday’s second on a panhandling charge in downtown Frederick. The arrests, and the use of an undercover officer, formed part of what appeared to be one of the Washington area’s more vigorous law enforcement responses to panhandling.

Police said there have been continuing complaints of panhandling in the area, and indicated that their response was part of an effort to address quality-of-life issues.

Jurisdictions across the United States have confronted the issue of panhandling. It has been dealt with through social services and law enforcement.

Some panhandling ordinances have raised First Amendment questions.

Three additional panhandling arrests in downtown Frederick were reported last week. On Wednesday, police said a man was arrested after they learned that a woman had been approached and asked for bus fare.

A day earlier, police said, an officer made an arrest after confirming a surveillance report indicating that a man had been asked for money. The man had given $1, police said.

The third arrest, also on July 24, came after an officer saw a man who was approached while unloading a truck, police said.

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