The Bossier City Council has passed two ordinances that cracks down on panhandling within its city limits.

The first ordinance sets restrictions on “Pedestrian Conduct,” which prohibits pedestrians from approaching drivers on busy streets, such as Airline Drive and Benton Road.

The second ordinance prohibits “Aggressive Personal Solicitation,” which keeps panhandlers from harassing people in parking lots.

Violating either ordinance will result in a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail.

The ordinances were introduced by Councilman Thomas Harvey, who said the goal was to limit  traffic delays and because of safety concerns.  Councilman Jeff Darby was the only vote against the ordinances.

The ordinances brings Bossier City in line with the city of Shreveport, which also bans panhandling, and Bossier Parish, which prohibits panhandling on parish and state roadways.

Bossier touts crime stats

Sheriff Julian Whittington says, “Once again, our statistics reveal just why Bossier Parish is a great place to call home.  We had no homicides last year, and the majority of our crimes against people were usually between families and friends.”

The sheriff released the 2016 crime statistics that reflect crimes committed in the unincorporated areas of the parish, excluding Bossier City, Benton, Haughton, and Plain Dealing city limits.

There were 973 crimes in the parish in 2016, comprising 485 person crimes and 488 property crimes. In 2015, there were 949 crimes, 393 person crimes and 553 property crimes.

As Whittington mentioned, there were no  homicides committed in 2016.  There were 11 rapes, three robberies, 413 batteries, and 58 assaults.

Property crimes were: Burglary Residence 40, Burglary Business 4, Burglary Vehicle 120, Theft 311, Motor Vehicle Theft 11, and Arson 2.

‘We strive to be proactive in our law enforcement roles, and having our deputies go into neighborhoods, getting to know our residents, and visiting our businesses creates a relationship between our deputies and the public we serve,” Whittington said.

The sheriff added, “Our number one goal for every deputy, Posse and staff member remains public safety, and we are dedicated to courteous, professional and responsive – C.P.R. – service to the residents of Bossier Parish.  People expect that level of service…we are committed to providing it.”

Early voting underway

Early voting is underway and will run through Saturday, March 18 for the March 25 election.

Voters can cast ballots from 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the registrar of voters office in their parish.

On the ballot in Bossier is the race for the state House District 8 seat.  The candidates are Raymond Crews, Robbie Gatti Jr., Patrick Harrington, and Duke Lowrie.  All four are Republicans.

The winner will fill out the remainder of the term of Rep. Mike Johnson, who was elected to Congress.

Also on tap in Bossier is a race for the District 1 seat on the city council.  Incumbent Scott Irwin is being challenged by Lindell Webb.  Both are Republicans.

Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.