Safety a concern in Prairie Township

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

In an effort to secure the community, the Prairie Township trustees adopted several resolutions aimed at protecting residents.

Among these resolutions was a measure protecting residents from aggressive panhandling.

“There have been complaints about issues with aggressive panhandlers,” said Tracy Hatmaker, township administrator. “This has been an issue particularly in the Lincoln Village Plaza parking lot.”

According to Hatmaker, without this resolution the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office cannot address the issue.

“Right now, unless someone is violent, the sheriff’s office can’t do anything,” Hatmaker said. “With this resolution, a person can be fined, which will hopefully deter this behavior.”

A person would be ticketed $50 the first time someone complains, $100 the second time someone complains and $250 after three or more complaints.

The tickets would be issued if it is found the panhandler is aggressive or bullying residents into giving them money.

The board also adopted a resolution to create a do not knock registry in the township.

“This is a registry of people who don’t want commercial solicitors and peddlers knocking on their doors,” Hatmaker said. “Because we have a home rule government, we can create this.”

Residents can sign up for this and will receive a sticker that they can showcase on their door, letting solicitors know they cannot knock on that door. Hatmaker said the only exceptions to this would be non-profits, as they can still knock on everyone’s doors, regardless of the registry.

If a solicitor violates the rule, they would be fined $50 for their first offense, $100 for their second offense and $250 for three or more offenses.

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