In 2021 a Federal District Court Judge ruled that Illinois state law and all local ordinances which prohibited panhandling in public streets and on medians were unconstitutional as such laws violated the panhandler’s First Amendment rights. As a result of this ruling, police officers are not allowed to stop or ticket panhandlers unless their activities create traffic or safety concerns.

The Village understands the frustration and the potential traffic safety hazards panhandling creates, but the police department cannot ticket or prohibit panhandlers on the roadway unless there is a clearly articulated safety concern. A panhandler’s presence at an intersection is not in itself a safety concern.

The Village of Morton Grove asks our residents and the motoring public to be patient and careful when traveling on streets where panhandlers may be present. The best deterrence to panhandlers is to refrain from handing them money. Alternatively, the Village suggests donations to worthy charities that outreach to the needy.

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