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Perimeters of panhandling along roadways

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Updated: 3/10/2013 11:33 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV --You probably see it all the time, but did you know that panhandling on the street is illegal in Las Vegas.

But people still take the risk. You see them at busy intersections, and freeway off ramps holding up those homemade cardboard signs hoping someone will spare some change or maybe even some cash.

They might even bring a pet to really pull at your heart strings.

Erin Murphy asks for money. She started doing it last year after a divorce she says. While she claims she’s not homeless, she says in about 90 minutes she made about $20.

“Honestly, I don’t like to work,” Murphy said, “I’m actually decently hard to employ as well.”

She knows the law. You can ask for money on the side of a roadway.

“Once they step into the roadway then the offense is called ‘pedestrian in the roadway’ and they can be cited for stepping into the roadway and was obstructing traffic or endangering themselves,” said Officer Laura Meltzer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

It is a misdemeanor offense, and it has to be observed by an officer to be cited. But besides the technical aspects, there are safety concerns too as some people weave in and out of cars waiting at red lights, to collect money.

“....because not all drivers are actually expecting someone to be walking in between the cars and an accident can occur," said Trooper Loy Hixson of the Nevada Highway Patrol.

And since the red lights are brief, motorists need to know they are not immune to being cited either.

“If the light is green and if you are waiting to give...we understand having the good heart. But if you are impeding traffic and the light is green the driver can also be cited,” Hixson said.

So while Erin Murphy may know the law, others might not; or just may take their chances, she’s continuing to hold up her sign.

“Out here people don't tell you ‘no’ all the time. People tell you to get a job and what-not. That’s easier said than done sometimes,” Murphy said.




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