Kulhawik: SoNo panhandling complaints way down

A pedestrian walks through SoNo.

NORWALK, Conn. – Complaints about homeless panhandlers in South Norwalk have reduced greatly, Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said.

Mayor Richard Moccia said recently that Kulhawik had taken a different approach to the problem than former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling.

Moccia said that at some point in the past SoNo business people wanted homeless people arrested. Rilling had said that was unconstitutional, according to Moccia, who went on to say that, “We’ve taken some new approaches with the new chief looking at it in a different way.”

Kulhawik responded to an inquiry on the topic with the following email:

“I can’t speak for the mayor, but I am guessing he was referring to the homeless panhandling issue on Washington Street.  The business owners were not happy that panhandling in and of itself was not illegal.  The city ordinance is for aggressive panhandling and that is defined in the ordinance.  The business owners at one point wanted arrests made for loitering (which is not a crime) or for the panhandling regardless of the manner in which they asked for money.

“It was not a completely new approach, but an expansion of things we have tried and brought them together with some new ideas. We tried to address it a little more proactively. We had evening shift lieutenant — Lt. Murphy — dedicate several evening shift officers to  focus on this issue for period of time to both enforce the ordinance where possible with a zero tolerance, and also bring in other services to try and assist such as mental health professionals. He also located and contacted the family members of one individual to try and get their assistance as the root issue is often substance abuse or mental illness.  They were able to identify the prime people responsible and attempt to get them needed services as well as issue the violations pursuant to city ordinance where appropriate.

“As a result the problem  appeared to be greatly reduced as we had very few complaints this summer as compared to past years.”


7 responses to “Kulhawik: SoNo panhandling complaints way down”

  1. Norwalk Lifer

    The business owners on Washington Street should try to lower their prices a little if they want to attract more business. The cost of the real estate has sky rocketed, if they are not careful, Washington street will turn into Main Street Westport, where the costs are so high, that the franchises are the only ones who can afford it.

    There are many out of state LLC’s who have gobbled up real estate and are marketing that square footage at unreasonably prices. Until that changes, it isn’t panhandlers who are keeping customers away, it’s the cost of eating and shopping in SoNo itself, there has to be a balance, there are three restuarants that have lasted over the years, Donovan’s which changed ownership several times, Pasta Nostra, that is so exclusive and high end, that no one can touch the quality and the excellence of the food, and of course, El Alcapuco, which used to be Mama Vicky’s on Main Avenue.

    If you want excellent Mexican food, go there, the family that owns that restaurant really knows how to treat customers.

    But look at the transient nature of the others, they move in, they move out, and it’s not due to the panhandlers, it’s due to the real estate rentals.

    Norwalk Lifer

  2. J4KT

    Just a reminder to all and especially, well, you know who you are. Let’s remember to temper ourselves out there and make a real difference. We dont want more protests for, “Under the Color of Authority” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1po6Sic5lOU

    And in case you missed it, here is Kelly Thomas’s murder, recorded in full. Caution; the clip is unedited and graphic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6yaeD-E_MY

    Lets help eachother not hurt eachother. Its not us against them irregadless of how us and them are defined. We are all here together. Make a difference, help a someone that needs help. Best gift you can give to someone and yourself.

  3. Norwalk Lifer

    That’s a horrible thing, many of us here in South Norwalk know these people, they are in need of help, not harassment.

    And those that do not help, well, they themselves should remember, but for the Grace of God go I.

    Norwalk Lifer

  4. Tim T

    Odd how Chief Thomas Kulhawik has addressed this trifling issue while ignoring the well published cases of police abuse of the past several months . Many caught on camera….
    HUMMM priorities I see.

  5. rburnett

    Cheap departing shot Moccia. Maybe panhandling is down because SoNo business is down by more than 1/3. Maybe you should have focused on that and perhaps you would still be in office. Oh well..Ta Ta Dickie boy.

  6. Don’t Panic

    Well, the panhandlers will be able to weigh in now that the NPD is doing a customer service survey.

  7. disco debbie

    This is too far back for anyone to read, missed posting it before threads were scrolled back with all he news but, but worthy to come back and post this coconut’s has idea. Just destroy all the homeless folks possesions they have left and out law shopping carts and destroy the one’s that slipped away from piggly wiggly before rfid’s are installed on carts. Sure, we can just take a sledge hammer to Scott’s wheel chair, sure that will work. Tom Brower should get an award. And it isnt the aloha award. However mr Bowers award may very well begin with an a and end in another bowel, er vowel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf31XDSSx74

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