More Panhandling Citations Issued in Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Police in Springfield are issuing more citations for panhandling.

Officers have issued 44 citations so far this year for panhandling. That compares to 41 in all of 2011.

Springfield Deputy Police Chief Cliff Buscher says city officials and residents asked for increased enforcement of the city's anti-panhandling statute. He says that prompted the department to organize a few special details to discourage panhandlers.

Buscher says the ordinance applies only to people who actively solicit money, not someone who simply plays a musical instrument and accepts donations.

The Springfield City Council outlawed panhandling downtown in 2007. The ordinance carries fines of up to $100 or community service of eight to 40 hours for each violation.

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