A generous and compassionate Maryland woman gave money to a panhandler in East Baltimore. It cost her her life.

Fox Baltimore reports 52-year-old Jacquelyn Smith and two relatives were returning home from a family gathering, when Smith unrolled her passenger side window to give money to a woman who was holding a sign and what appeared to be a small baby. The sign reportedly read "Please help me feed my baby."

Smith's companions say a man then approached the car and attempted to take Smith's wallet. They say after a brief struggle, the man pulled out a knife and stabbed Smith. The man and woman fled the scene. Smith was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Not all, but many of the people who stand on corners begging for money are desperate. Some are addicted to drugs and or alcohol. If you show a desperate person with an addiction that you have cash, there is a good chance that you can become a victim of a violent crime. Don't become a victim.

If the plight of the addicted and downtrodden tugs at your heart strings, there are many local charities that would gladly accept your contribution, and would put it to use in a way that truly benefits the needy.

Handing out money to panhandlers on a street corner often enables folks with drug and alcohol addictions, and does nothing to help them or the cause. It also puts you at a greater risk of being a victim of a violent crime.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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