The city has been busy running the homeless out of the downtown areas, and they must be heading north.
Within the past two weeks we have been hit up by panhandlers four times in the parking lots of Costco, Lowe's and Bed Bath and Beyond. In all four instances, they came upon us out of nowhere, as we were sitting in our car, putting groceries in the trunk or just walking across the parking lot. We also came across two homeless camped along the Clovis bike trail and another digging in a Dumpster behind a store along the trail.
So far we have been lucky and the encounters have been without incident other than being hit up for money. Are they truly hungry, needing gas money to get to another town as we've been told, or wanting money to feed a drug or alcohol habit? By giving them money do we encourage them to return and bring their friends? I'm going to buy some McDonald's gift certificates to give, rather than money next time, but the stores at River Park and Villagio need to step up security before customers are scared away.
With shootings and burglaries on the increase in the northeast, it pays to be more vigilant these days, even in the daytime!