Police to enforce Tucson ordinance that prohibits feeding homeless in parks

Police to enforce Tucson ordinance that prohibits feeding homeless in parks
Police in Tucson plan to enforce the ordinance in hopes of cleaning up parks. (Source: KOLD)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Tuscon Police Department Park Safety Team wants the community to know giving out food in a city park without a permit goes against city ordinance.

"As it is a good deed to provide to others, there are other alternatives you can refer to without violating the law,” said a statement posted by the team on Twitter.

The statement said distributing food in a park can cause trash to pile up, which creates a health hazard, and can increase the homeless population in parks.

Jahmar Anthony, the founder of Deejays Against Hunger, said he disagrees with the ordinance. He worries it will create a barrier for people who want to give back.

“You have a lot of people out there who are wanting to help the homeless, but when you make them jump through more and more hoops to do it, a lot of people are going to be like I'm not even gonna bother with it,” Anthony said.

The police department encourages the community to donate to a food bank or volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen instead of giving out food at a city park.

Tucson resident Rosa Jackson said telling the homeless population where to find resources is the hardest part.

"It's a little bit difficult when someone doesn't have access,” she said. “They don't have a home, they don't have access to a radio or a television.”

The city requires each individual or group to have a health permit and a Parks and Recreation permit to distribute food at a park.

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