"And sometimes they don't take no for an answer and they get right up in people's faces," Sheets said.
City leaders must be careful the ordinance doesn't violate anyone's civil rights, Police Chief Brent Webster said.
"There's no law against people asking for money while they're on public property," he said. "It may make people uncomfortable - it makes me uncomfortable - but it's not against the law."
He said the only time officers can directly address panhandling on public property is when the individual is being aggressive or if they are intoxicated. Panhandlers also cannot block traffic.
"We try to get our officers to understand what's asking for money peacefully and what is aggressive panhandling," Webster said. "But when it becomes aggressive, it becomes another offense."
Panhandlers cannot go into private businesses to ask for money, and they cannot touch an individual, he said.
"If they're threatening people in any way or just being disorderly, we can write them a citation or actually remove them from the scene or arrest them," Webster said.
Sheets said he understands that officers walk a fine line.
He recalled a man who used to ask for money several years ago outside of a Quarrier Street bank. The man, who was severely disabled, would set out a tin cup for money, Sheets said.
"That's passive panhandling," he said. "I want people to feel safe downtown."
Webster said complaints actually seem to be down this year compared to years past. But that lower figure could be attributed to a cooler spring. As the weather continues to warm, more people will be out and about downtown, Webster said. That usually means more soliciting.
South Charleston also hears complaints about begging, but Police Chief Brad Rinehart said the problem isn't as prominent as it is in Charleston.
When panhandling does occur, it's usually in the shopping centers around Corridor G.
Because those centers are private property, police officers can force the panhandlers to leave.
"And the property owners there have made it clear that they don't want them there," Rinehart said.
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