04/02/2014 11:10 am ET Updated Apr 02, 2014

Why Are New York City Cops Cracking Down On Subway Panhandlers?

Spencer Platt via Getty Images

If you live in a large American city, chances are you've had an encounter with a panhandler on public transit. Perhaps the stranger who asked for money did so after serenading you with beautiful music, in which case you were happy to pitch in. Or maybe the beggar was hostile or clearly mentally ill, which scared you off from giving them any cash. But even if this sort of interaction has the potential to be uncomfortable, does it really make sense for police to concentrate their resources on what is ultimately a nuisance?

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