Northampton shoppers see increase in panhandlers during holiday season

Hampshire County

Panhandling is an ongoing issue in Northampton, and it may be more noticeable during the holiday season.

Business owners on Main Street in Downtown Northampton are busy, as shoppers look to complete their holiday shopping. However, the ongoing issue with panhandling could be affecting shoppers. 

Robert Noble has lived in Northampton for more than 30-years, and sees the issue firsthand. 

“People that come to shop Northampton that aren’t from town and hasn’t seen this evolve are the ones that are probably put off by it a bit,” Noble said. “Sometimes it could be an annoyance, but if you lived in this town your entire life, this is just something you see every day.”

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz continues to work with the city to try and mitigate panhandling. 

An online survey is asking Northampton residents and visitors about their experiences with downtown panhandlers and street musicians.

While some shoppers are turned away by the increase in panhandlers, others from out of town don’t see a problem, especially during the giving season. 

“I wouldn’t say this is a deterrent to shopping it would be a reason to give,” one shopper told 22News. “So it depends where your heart is when you look at somebody. Do you see a connection with yourself and humanity or do you see someone less than you?”

Mayor Narkewicz said the survey is almost complete, and results should be coming in soon about what to do with the panhandling downtown. 

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