Bill Bratton’s Solution to Homeless Panhandling: Don’t Give Them Money

A homeless woman begs for help on the street (Photo: Jewel Samad for AFP/Getty Images)

A homeless woman begs for help on the street (Photo: Jewel Samad for AFP/Getty Images)

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said today that if New Yorkers are angry about the number of homeless people panhandling for change on the street, they should stop giving them money

Talking to reporters after an unrelated press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio and members of Congress at City Hall, Mr. Bratton said that if residents of the city aren’t happy with so many people begging on the street, they should stop shelling out change to the indigent upon request.

“My best advice to the citizens of New York City: If this is so upsetting to you, don’t give. The quickest way to get rid of them is not to give to them,” he said. “So if New Yorkers are complaining so much about it, well, one of the things they can do is stop contributing to it.”

Mr. de Blasio took the mic immediately after his commissioner, but instead of backing him up, he emphasized how his administration has overseen the clearing and cleaning of 21 homeless encampments across the city—a practice that has attracted considerable criticism from left-leaning groups.

“It was absolutely unacceptable, not anything that should have been accepted in a modern city,” the mayor said, referring to the conditions in the makeshift indigent colonies.