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Civic: more beggars and junkies than usual?

By 22 January 2013 61

Over the last few weeks I seem to have had more beggars approaching me in Civic wanting money.

Also, there have appeared to be a lot more syringes and empty methadone containers in North Canberra.

Has anyone else noticed more of these adornments to this fine city of late, and can explain why?

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61 Responses to Civic: more beggars and junkies than usual?
#1
zorro2910:27 am, 22 Jan 13

My theory is that the heat is making everyone more belligerant and reducing the amount of space they occupy…

#2
G-Fresh10:30 am, 22 Jan 13

It’s all those poorly finished roadworks that’s sending the weak to drugs

#3
johnboy10:31 am, 22 Jan 13

Sunday night some bloke in Dickson asked me for some money for the bus.

Bumped into him in the grog shop 3 minutes later.

Oh well, hope he enjoyed it.

#4
460cixy10:37 am, 22 Jan 13

Does anyone actually give these people money? As. Jb said. His beggar was spotted in the botlo later on

#5
shirty_bear11:11 am, 22 Jan 13

Sheltered life I lead … wouldn’t know an empty methadone container if I tripped over one. Unless there’s some sort of clue, like “methadone” in large red letters.

#6
richiedt11:21 am, 22 Jan 13

If you’re regularly approached by beggars, why not have a spare bus ticket handy (probably not in your wallet though)if they say they need bus fare which is quite common. You might also be able to or grab a food voucher from a local takeaway – or drop into somewhere nearby and buy them some lunch / dinner etc.

I’ve also had the same experience where I’ve given “beggars” money and then seen them down the pub / bottle-o not long after. Accordingly, I don’t give out cash anymore but will happily duck into a nearby take away and grab them a feed. If they were after cash for some grog they’ll soon either admit that or find some excuse not to take up your offer.

It might also be useful to have the number for Mission Australia or a similar group handy – you might find they can actually come and help them out. That could make a huge difference in their life by one simple, charitable act.

Just remember, if they’re genuine, these people could be one meal away from becoming really sick and you could, by one simple and inexpensive act be there saviour!

Just make sure you don’t place yourself if any danger while you’re helping out.

#7
Tetranitrate11:25 am, 22 Jan 13

The traffic light windscreen washer junkies on Northborne have gotten much more aggressive lately too, and won’t take no for an answer. If I shake my head that should be it, but they just start at it anyway.
I don’t understand why the government allows this rubbish to continue – it’s not providing a service, it’s just another form of begging with a pinch of intimidation. It also makes the city look like a ghetto.

#8
Rollersk8r11:26 am, 22 Jan 13

The pre-Christmas chuggers in Civic were much worse than any beggars I’ve noticed lately…

#9
Tetranitrate11:30 am, 22 Jan 13

There’s was a particular junkie whose story was that his girlfriend was in a car accident and he needs $20 to get to the hospital to see her. He was using that for like 5 years, and also used to wander onto ANU. I haven’t seen him around that much lately, though I’m not in the city that much either now.

#10
DrKoresh11:45 am, 22 Jan 13

I don’t mind giving a couple of bucks to someone who’s down-and-out. I don’t care if they want to spend it on booze, food or accommodation. I don’t give money to the ones who try and intimidate you into giving up shrapnel, but as long as they’re polite, or at lease, not aggressive i’m more than happy to hand over any shrapnel in my pocket.

#11
PantsMan11:57 am, 22 Jan 13

Tetranitrate said :

The traffic light windscreen washer junkies on Northborne have gotten much more aggressive lately too, and won’t take no for an answer. If I shake my head that should be it, but they just start at it anyway.
I don’t understand why the government allows this rubbish to continue – it’s not providing a service, it’s just another form of begging with a pinch of intimidation. It also makes the city look like a ghetto.

There appears no law against begging in the ACT.

And the ACT has a specific exemption to the Australian Road Rules to allow you to conduct a business on a road just to facilitate the windscreen washers on Northbourne: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/act/consol_reg/rtatmr2000503/s22a.html

More bright ideas from the ACT Government.

#12
JazzyJess12:06 pm, 22 Jan 13

DrKoresh said :

I don’t mind giving a couple of bucks to someone who’s down-and-out. I don’t care if they want to spend it on booze, food or accommodation. I don’t give money to the ones who try and intimidate you into giving up shrapnel, but as long as they’re polite, or at lease, not aggressive i’m more than happy to hand over any shrapnel in my pocket.

Agreed. Once I’ve handed over my change it’s no longer up to me what it’s used for.

#13
schmeah12:19 pm, 22 Jan 13

Tetranitrate said :

The traffic light windscreen washer junkies on Northborne have gotten much more aggressive lately too, and won’t take no for an answer. If I shake my head that should be it, but they just start at it anyway.
I don’t understand why the government allows this rubbish to continue – it’s not providing a service, it’s just another form of begging with a pinch of intimidation. It also makes the city look like a ghetto.

I find that the windscreen scrubs also deliberatly target lone women in cars. I only say this because I can’t count the number of times I’ve been a sole occupant where the scrubber has come up and continued washing my car when I’ve energetically tried to wave him away .. I’ve also happened to notice them walk past cars with male occupants.

On another note, some years ago I was travelling overseas and saw a begger on the street with a sign that translated read “Not going to lie. Need money for beer”

#14
carnardly12:28 pm, 22 Jan 13

I’ve got hit by the “can i have some money to buy some food” many a time. Often I reach into my bag and pull out an apple to give them that. 9 times out of 10 I get a “eff off Boitch” response.

I guess they’re not really THAT hungry then….

#15
Tetranitrate12:28 pm, 22 Jan 13

PantsMan said :

Tetranitrate said :

The traffic light windscreen washer junkies on Northborne have gotten much more aggressive lately too, and won’t take no for an answer. If I shake my head that should be it, but they just start at it anyway.
I don’t understand why the government allows this rubbish to continue – it’s not providing a service, it’s just another form of begging with a pinch of intimidation. It also makes the city look like a ghetto.

There appears no law against begging in the ACT.

And the ACT has a specific exemption to the Australian Road Rules to allow you to conduct a business on a road just to facilitate the windscreen washers on Northbourne: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/act/consol_reg/rtatmr2000503/s22a.html

More bright ideas from the ACT Government.

Yeah I didn’t think that begging was illegal or anything – but was making the point that it really isn’t a business transaction in the normal sense, it’s just another flavor of begging. Very surprised at that law being there specifically to enable this rubbish.

#16
DrKoresh12:30 pm, 22 Jan 13

schmeah said :

I find that the windscreen scrubs also deliberatly target lone women in cars. I only say this because I can’t count the number of times I’ve been a sole occupant where the scrubber has come up and continued washing my car when I’ve energetically tried to wave him away .. I’ve also happened to notice them walk past cars with male occupants.

According to the missus, that’s pretty much exactly what they do. Apparently they’ll always wash her windscreen when she’s alone (even though she always trys to wave them away) compared to when I’m in the car with her. She doesn’t pay them of they come up and scrub her windshield after she’s already said no, which I think is fair enough.

#17
Tetranitrate12:31 pm, 22 Jan 13

schmeah said :

Tetranitrate said :

The traffic light windscreen washer junkies on Northborne have gotten much more aggressive lately too, and won’t take no for an answer. If I shake my head that should be it, but they just start at it anyway.
I don’t understand why the government allows this rubbish to continue – it’s not providing a service, it’s just another form of begging with a pinch of intimidation. It also makes the city look like a ghetto.

I find that the windscreen scrubs also deliberatly target lone women in cars. I only say this because I can’t count the number of times I’ve been a sole occupant where the scrubber has come up and continued washing my car when I’ve energetically tried to wave him away .. I’ve also happened to notice them walk past cars with male occupants.

Well, I’m male and they still hassle me – though the car I drive is fairly small. I’d just have to wonder if maybe the go for the Excel, Yaris, Barina, Micra, ect sort of models first and foremost – you’d be way more close and personal in that case than with a 4wd, or even a commodore.

#18
DrKoresh12:35 pm, 22 Jan 13

carnardly said :

I’ve got hit by the “can i have some money to buy some food” many a time. Often I reach into my bag and pull out an apple to give them that. 9 times out of 10 I get a “eff off Boitch” response.

I guess they’re not really THAT hungry then….

Maybe they were merely dedicated carnivores, and were as offender by the offer of an apple as vegetarian beggers (beggertarians) would be at the offer of a Big Mac.

#19
mezza7612:38 pm, 22 Jan 13

One of the more depressing things I have seen is the morning line up at Superbarn to buy the cask (or ‘piss’ in their words) for the day.

Im equally annoyed that most ATOD services have a tendency to be referral or more on the person affected contacting them. It’s a classic case where there needs to be more outreach services for these guys to help transition them off getting wasted on cheap booze all day.

#20
poetix12:38 pm, 22 Jan 13

JazzyJess said :

DrKoresh said :

I don’t mind giving a couple of bucks to someone who’s down-and-out. I don’t care if they want to spend it on booze, food or accommodation. I don’t give money to the ones who try and intimidate you into giving up shrapnel, but as long as they’re polite, or at lease, not aggressive i’m more than happy to hand over any shrapnel in my pocket.

Agreed. Once I’ve handed over my change it’s no longer up to me what it’s used for.

I must admit I’m less likely to give money to someone who tells the bus lie than someone who just asks for money. People have every right to ask, but they don’t have the right to try and intimidate people into giving. I never give to chuggers though.

There is one windscreen guy who does not try to bully me into paying, and because of that I sometimes get him to do my car. The aggressive ones don’t get anything. I had one who started even though I shook my head and I rolled down the window (probably fairly stupid) and told him off. He said ‘I’m not going to fight you to clean up your shit’ which was exactly what he was doing.

I am always approached by someone in Civic. Always.

#21
cmdwedge12:47 pm, 22 Jan 13

Tetranitrate said :

Well, I’m male and they still hassle me – though the car I drive is fairly small. I’d just have to wonder if maybe the go for the Excel, Yaris, Barina, Micra, ect sort of models first and foremost – you’d be way more close and personal in that case than with a 4wd, or even a commodore.

Might be something in that. I used to drive a little Jazz, and even with the wave-off, they would sometimes do it. Since getting the big Commodore a couple of years ago, not once have they tried.

#22
Pitchka1:00 pm, 22 Jan 13

Just turn on your wipers when he walks over insisting to wash your windscreen, he soon walks away…

#23
miz1:20 pm, 22 Jan 13

Possibly the location of this -

http://www.health.act.gov.au/c/health?a=sp&pid=1316133581&site=51490&servicecategory=13

They would have been on skeleton staffing over Xmas/New Year. Now they’re back, their clients are back . . .

#24
neanderthalsis1:31 pm, 22 Jan 13

schmeah said :

Tetranitrate said :

The traffic light windscreen washer junkies on Northborne have gotten much more aggressive lately too, and won’t take no for an answer. If I shake my head that should be it, but they just start at it anyway.
I don’t understand why the government allows this rubbish to continue – it’s not providing a service, it’s just another form of begging with a pinch of intimidation. It also makes the city look like a ghetto.

I find that the windscreen scrubs also deliberatly target lone women in cars. I only say this because I can’t count the number of times I’ve been a sole occupant where the scrubber has come up and continued washing my car when I’ve energetically tried to wave him away .. I’ve also happened to notice them walk past cars with male occupants.

On another note, some years ago I was travelling overseas and saw a begger on the street with a sign that translated read “Not going to lie. Need money for beer”

Mrs Neanderthalsis complained some time ago that she was being targeted despite giving clear indications that she did not require their services. Having not had it happen to me I was a tad sceptical about their persistence until one of them did it while I was in the car too. As he started to lean over the windscreen, I reached over and flicked the windscreen washer on. I copped a gobful but drove off happy when the lights changed.

#25
clj1:33 pm, 22 Jan 13

For anyone who’d rather give a referral than actual money, there is always a free dinner on in the Griffin Centre, except Fridays when it’s in Garema Place. Weekdays, St Johns Care provides free food parcels and in particular circumstances (for a medical appointment etc) can do bus passes as well at the church next to the CIT on Constitution Avenue (open 9.30-2). Weekday mornings the Early Morning Centre at City Uniting on Northbourne provides breakfast and showers and things.

ACT Free Meal Guide (needs updating): http://www.citizensadvice.org.au/content/view/35/32/
n.b. the Youth in the City program no longer operates unfortunately since the youth services changes; not sure what else is not current info.

#26
poetix1:46 pm, 22 Jan 13

clj said :

For anyone who’d rather give a referral than actual money, there is always a free dinner on in the Griffin Centre, except Fridays when it’s in Garema Place. Weekdays, St Johns Care provides free food parcels and in particular circumstances (for a medical appointment etc) can do bus passes as well at the church next to the CIT on Constitution Avenue (open 9.30-2). Weekday mornings the Early Morning Centre at City Uniting on Northbourne provides breakfast and showers and things.

ACT Free Meal Guide (needs updating): http://www.citizensadvice.org.au/content/view/35/32/
n.b. the Youth in the City program no longer operates unfortunately since the youth services changes; not sure what else is not current info.

The Uniting Church service you mention on Northbourne also can provide people with a post office box address, desk space and computer access, if they need it:

http://www.canberracityuca.org.au/html/early_morning_centre.html

All a different question from how an individual responds to being asked for money, though.

#27
Proboscus1:53 pm, 22 Jan 13

Junkie Beggar: “Spare some change?”
Peter Griffin: “Sure.”
Junkie Beggar: “You didn’t put anything in there.”
Peter Griffin: “Yes I did – I put hope in there. Hope. Don’t spend it all in one place raggy.”

#28
devils_advocate2:22 pm, 22 Jan 13

Tetranitrate said :

PantsMan said :

Tetranitrate said :

The traffic light windscreen washer junkies on Northborne have gotten much more aggressive lately too, and won’t take no for an answer. If I shake my head that should be it, but they just start at it anyway.
I don’t understand why the government allows this rubbish to continue – it’s not providing a service, it’s just another form of begging with a pinch of intimidation. It also makes the city look like a ghetto.

There appears no law against begging in the ACT.

And the ACT has a specific exemption to the Australian Road Rules to allow you to conduct a business on a road just to facilitate the windscreen washers on Northbourne: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/act/consol_reg/rtatmr2000503/s22a.html

More bright ideas from the ACT Government.

Yeah I didn’t think that begging was illegal or anything – but was making the point that it really isn’t a business transaction in the normal sense, it’s just another flavor of begging. Very surprised at that law being there specifically to enable this rubbish.

There’s one windscreen guy in particular in Dickson that is just not *that* skillful at getting out of the way. A number of times he has been oblivious to the lights changing and has had to walk across as many as 2 lanes of traffic (i.e. when cleaning a car in the leftmost lane). It’s not always easy to see him in advance especially in a low car parked behind a SUV or commercial vehicle. Probably had around 3-5 near misses involving hard application of the brakes. Doesn’t help that when the traffic banks up at that intersection people are keen to move through or miss the lights. Couple of times people have had to get right on the brakes, hold up traffic, while he makes it back to the island, to the (justifiable) irritation of people behind.

Would be interesting to know if these squeegee-jockeys ever get “cleaned up” themselves by a car or bus.

#29
clj2:43 pm, 22 Jan 13

poetix said :

clj said :

For anyone who’d rather give a referral than actual money, there is always a free dinner on in the Griffin Centre, except Fridays when it’s in Garema Place. Weekdays, St Johns Care provides free food parcels and in particular circumstances (for a medical appointment etc) can do bus passes as well at the church next to the CIT on Constitution Avenue (open 9.30-2). Weekday mornings the Early Morning Centre at City Uniting on Northbourne provides breakfast and showers and things.

ACT Free Meal Guide (needs updating): http://www.citizensadvice.org.au/content/view/35/32/
n.b. the Youth in the City program no longer operates unfortunately since the youth services changes; not sure what else is not current info.

The Uniting Church service you mention on Northbourne also can provide people with a post office box address, desk space and computer access, if they need it:

http://www.canberracityuca.org.au/html/early_morning_centre.html

All a different question from how an individual responds to being asked for money, though.

Of course… to be honest I usually say sorry and keep walking, unless I know them. Richiedt’s comment just got me thinking.

#30
ThisIsAName3:21 pm, 22 Jan 13

Recently, some bloke in Civic was hassling people for money, with a story about needing $38 for a bed in the Dickson backpackers and some food. He only wanted $ as charities couldn’t help him for some reason (which he never explained).

Are there any shelters/temporary accomodation about?

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