It’s all over the internet. The story of one township that seeks to limit where beggars can solicit “donations” by requiring beggars to apply for permits.

With the economy being what it is, you’d have to figure that the number of people begging for assistance would be up.

And so it is in Middle Township, where begging for money has been taken to new heights.

Township Council has adopted an ordinance banning aggressive begging.

The ordinance requires beggars and other solicitors to obtain permits and limits the areas in and means with which they can solicit money.

Police Chief Christopher Leusner said aggressive begging has become a problem in Middle Township in the past several months.

"It's a recurring complaint from our residents," Leusner said. "I've gotten numerous complaints from residents that say, 'Hey, I was in ShopRite, I was on my way to my car and a person followed me and asked me (for money) three or four times.'"

The ordinance, adopted at Monday's meeting, defines aggressive begging as speaking to or following a person in a manner that would cause them to fear bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act on their person or property, or otherwise intimidating someone into giving money or goods.

The ordinance also requires those who solicit money to obtain a permit from the township.
Permits are valid for one year and available for no charge. Photo identification is required with the application, and a warrant check will be conducted before the permit is issued.
The ordinance forbids solicitation by obstructing a pedestrian or vehicle, solicitation near an automated teller machine or bus or train stop, and solicitation in exchange for a service, such as window-washing.

The full list of restrictions is outlined in the agenda for the township's Sept. 4 council meeting, which is available on the township's website.

Nonprofit organizations may be exempted from provisions of the ordinance if they obtain written exemptions from the township Police Department.

While the ordinance places strict limits on begging, Leusner said if beggars are not threatening and do not violate the ordinance's provisions, they will not be punished.

I’m laughing to myself thinking about a possible scenario.

Beggar walks up to an unsuspecting person, whips out a “beggars license” and goes into his or her “spchiel.”

That makes it ok. Otherwise if you’re a beggar caught in an undesignated “beggar area”, you could be given a hefty fine; which would require more begging – or the other choice is to “take the pinch” and enjoy the lovely accommodations provided by the county.

As for you, the “begee” as it were; do you give in an offer said beggar some cash, cigarette, what have you; or do you just blow them off?

My favorite way is to speak in incoherent Neapolitan. I actually had one answer me. Too funny for words.

Next time, I tried Spanish!

A South Jersey Township wants beggars to apply for permits. Do you give beggars money?
What was the most creative way a beggar asked you for money?