Published On: Wed, Dec 20th, 2017

Mayor of Como bans begging and camping out in new decree

The mayor of northern Italian town of Como has passed a controversial measure which prohibits begging or camping out in the historic centre.

Mayor Mario Landriscina signed the 45-day decree on Friday. The aim of this decree is to “protect urban decorum and livability”.

Under the new measure, those found violating the ban face fines of €50 to €300 and are also responsible for “restoring the state of the premises at their own expense”.

The decree states that homeless people were sometimes “drunk and perform their physiological needs” in central areas of the city, and claimed there had been an “unusual increase” in the number of beggars, both those who beg ‘passively’ while standing or sitting and those who approach people on the streets.

It goes on to say that the increase in visitors to Como during the Christmas period was one reason for the new order, and also cited “reports from ordinary citizens and commercial businesses” relating to the begging and camping out.

At a national level, begging is legal in Italy. And even though it is forbidden to beg with children or animals, enforcement of the law is lax.

But some Italian cities have also adopted their own rules. In 2008, Venice became the first city to take a hardline approach by banning beggars. Fines of between €25 and €50 were introduced for those caught begging, while police can also confiscate their takings. The move was mostly aimed at preventing children from being exploited by criminal groups.

A coastal town in Liguria, Bordighera, also banned giving money to beggars in early 2016, while Trieste has mulled a similar set of laws.

This story was originally found on thelocal.it and has been adapted.

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