In a town where much of the driving is done in golf carts, panhandlers are not always welcome along the roadside in Sun City.
“It’s really frightening, I don’t like it,” said Linda Hammond, who recently moved to Sun City from Washington State and drives her golf cart to a grocery store near her home.
Her route includes the intersection of 107th and Grand avenues, where a panhandler stooped on the median Tuesday night. His sign advertised him as a homeless veteran.
But lacking a door or any barrier between herself and any potential panhandler, Hammond carries a metal rod for protection while driving through that intersection.
“If they do come too close, I can hit ‘em,” Hammond said.
“I have to protect myself.”
Panhandling is legal. Aggressive panhandling was banned statewide this summer. Panhandlers are not allowed to touch a potential donor, ask more than once if a clear “no” has been communicated, or follow someone to the point of intimidation, according to the new state law.
Jimmy Farley, a tow driver in the area, believes the law has pushed some panhandlers from Phoenix to the Sun City area. A representative of the Sun Lake posse office could not be reached for comment on whether the office has received panhandling complaints.
“The ladies, some of them are in their 80s and 90s around here [who drive] golf carts, I’m kind of concerned for them,” said a man who asked only to be identified as Ted.
Several golf cart drivers said Tuesday night that the panhandlers do not concern them. Another hardly noticed them along the road.
“We’re not out here to scare old ladies,” said Donald Longway, a panhandler in Sun City.
“We’re just looking for some help.”