(KGTV) - A Southern California police department's Facebook post is igniting the online debate over panhandling.
Ventura Police posted a video on their Facebook page Wednesday discouraging locals not to give to panhandlers and to give to charities instead.
"Want to help those in need in our community? Please say no to panhandling and yes to charities," Ventura Police's post read. "Giving money to panhandlers often feeds addictions and does not help someone get long-term help."
The video features a silent officer holding various signs reading things like "want to help?" and then "please don't give to panhandlers."
Comments on the viral video have ranged from supportive to not, some claiming that charities are not enough to solve the issue. Others say the video reinforces negative stereotypes of homeless individuals.
The police department said people should instead give to groups that provide meals, medical attention, and avenues that are long-term solutions to homelessness.
The City of Ventura's website also advocates against panhandling, saying it "may make us feel good for a moment, but cash spent on feeding addictions shortens the life of homeless individuals and supports their ability to live on the street rather than get permanent help."