Murray Hill business owners fed up with 'professional' panhandlers

Despite people asking for money, neighborhood is thriving, businesses say

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A surveillance video camera at a Murray Hill restaurant captured video of what the owner called a "professional panhandler."

The video appears to show a man getting out of a small sedan and, within seconds, asking person after person for money. 

It's a frustration that Jerry Moran, owner of La Cena Ristorante, has expressed for weeks. Moran is a kind man with a bright personality, however, he has grown tired of people imposing themselves on his property.

Moran is not alone. Other business owners, such as the Comerico brothers, said panhandling is an issue in the area. Standing outside a smoke shop that his family owns, Vicente Comerico said panhandling can affect the business.

News4Jax: "Have you ever experienced panhandlers?"
Comerico: "Very frequently, yes."
News4Jax: "And what are they asking for?"
Comerico: "Money, help. 'Can I come get a couple of things out of your shop?'"

Despite the frustration, business owners say that these businesses are changing the way people see Murray Hill and that it is a safe place. 

The community appears to be getting better. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office crime mapping tool, there was one crime reported on Edgewood Avenue near these businesses. It was a car theft in November.

Despite people asking for money, Comerico and others said businesses are thriving and people have a renewed faith in Murray Hill. They want to keep it that way.  

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