Fan living has its rewards and challenges. Below are some tips related to vagrancy that we hope will be helpful. For more information, see the Vagrancy - City Ordinances. For more information on other legal codes related to neighborhood issues, see Code Enforcement and Zoning.
1. How to discourage trespassing on private (personal or business) property:
Post a visible “No Trespassing” sign and provide VCU and Richmond Police Departments with a “No Trespassing” letter stating you authorize them to enforce trespassing statutes. The letter should also indicate your willingness to go to court in such cases.
2. Appropriate action if someone is sleeping/camping out in a public area:
Call 911 (or the VCUPD equivalent, 804 828-1234), and give the location and description of the subject. Expect to be asked if you want to be seen or contacted by the dispatched police unit. At a minimum, give your name and contact number and request a follow-up call. This is important because (RPD and/or VCUPD) need a complainant.
3. What to do about abandoned (stashed) belongings:
Abandoned items left on your property or in a Fan park is just that, abandoned property. Foremost, keep your personal safety in mind and call the police. This is your best bet as the belongings may need special consideration from a health and safety standpoint. It's also possible that the items are stolen, or potential incident evidence, further reasons for police involvement. Additionally, should the owner of the abandoned property suddenly return, it's better that any action is done by the police.
4. How to respond to panhandling:
Think safety over politeness. You don't have to comply, or even respond to such requests. It is legal for a person to ask (politely) one time. It's not legal to continue to ask even if there is no response by the person that's being approached. In many cases a request for money, a cigarette or "the time" can also be a precursor to a more serious crime. Safety over being friendly and polite. Report aggressive panhandlers to the police, with location, description and be prepared for the question "do you wish to be seen". Police need a complainant.
5. Appropriate ways to help:
There are many local organizations that accept volunteers and donations. We list (without endorsing) a few below. Please do your own research to determine where your help is best suited.