Melanie Leff Bradenton, Florida panhandler arrested after threatening woman refusing to her give $1. The rise of homelessness and panhandling and what to do about it.
A Florida beggar has been arrested after threatening to beat up a woman who wouldn’t give her $1, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
Melanie Leff, 46, had been panhandling in Bradenton around 6:00 p.m. on Thursday when a bystander complained to police alleging Leff threatening to beat up a woman who refused to give her $1.
Responding deputies found heard Leff yelling obscenities at someone inside a car stopped at the red light where she had set up shop, according to the Bradenton Herald.
Deputies described Leff ‘as extremely aggressive and verbally abusive.’
Leff has since been booked and taken to Manatee County jail, where she remains.
Police arrested her on charges of panhandling and engaging in conduct that implies threat of injury.
Leff was previously arrested twice for the misuse of the 911 system, according to the Miami Herald.
In Dec. 2018, officers spoke with Leff after receiving complaints of her panhandling in the area.
Attending officers found Leff allegedly yelling, with the woman telling an officer she was going to call 911 only to be arrested and arrested for misuse of the 911 system.
Just 10 minutes later, Leff somehow managed to call the police again from the back of the patrol car, landing her another charge of the same crime.
But there’s more.
The rise of panhandling and homelessness: Seeking solutions.
Leff was also arrested twice between Nov. 2017 and Jan. 2018 on charges of trespassing, possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct, as well as another panhandling charge.
A new ordinance was recently passed in Manatee County making it illegal for panhandlers or pedestrians to remain in the median of ‘highly traveled’ roads after an outcry over instances of violence by homeless people in the area, according to the Bradenton Herald.
Of intrigue, data from the 2015 Point-in-Time (PIT) count for the Sarasota-Bradenton-Manatee CoC shows a continued increase in chronic homelessness in the last two years of 41.5% from 301 persons to 426 persons. The 2015 PIT also showed an overall increase in the number of homeless of just over 3% to 1,419 individuals. The trend continued to worsen according to a 2016 report with 497 homeless people counted in Manatee and 971 in Sarasota.
Increased homelessness continues to be an issue as the cost of living increasingly becomes an unmanageable expense for the American worker. Mental illness and addiction along with a lack of family or social connections has also factored into homelessness.
Previous complaints have heard of panhandlers not necessarily being homeless with individuals preferring to beg as opposed to finding work or claiming to be an unable to find work. Bradenton Council continues to explore ordinances banning panhandling.