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Cottonwood has a problem with panhandling. Police are now putting up signs to stop it.

The Cottonwood Police Department has installed temporary signs around the community following a rise in panhandling.

COTTONWOOD, Ariz. — Following an increased level of panhandling, the Cottonwood Police Department posted temporary signs saying "It’s OK to say NO to panhandlers," in an effort to discourage the practice and increase donations to local charities.

The signs will be located at the following high-volume locations but can be moved if issues arise in other areas. Local resources for those experiencing homelessness are listed on the back of each sign, police say. 

The signs can be found at these locations:

  •  Mingus Avenue and Main Street 
  •  Sawmill Square Retail Center, 1635-1695 Cottonwood Street 
  •  Cottonwood Plaza Retail Center, 1100 State Route 260 
  •  Maverick Gas Station Parking Lot 
  •  Walmart Shopping Center  

“Our objective is to encourage community members to contribute their financial donations to local charities that have a bigger impact on the homeless population. We want to improve the quality of life for all those that live in our community,” Outreach Services Officer James Repp said.

Police say panhandling is not illegal but it can hurt more than help because it supports "addictive behaviors." They encourage residents to visit the agency's website, a proven way to help the homeless transition toward self-reliance. 

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