ANN ARBOR, Mich. -

Ann Arbor has kicked off a bold public awareness campaign aimed at cracking down on public panhandlers.

The message: "Want to really help? You don't want your $$ to support a drug or alcohol habit!"

The campaign is aimed at thwarting aggressive panhandling and other issues facing the downtown area in the community about 35 miles west-southwest of Detroit.

Susan Pollay, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority and member of the outreach task force, tells AnnArbor.com the goal is "positive" and encourages people to direct donations "to the agencies that are in need of support and in need of assistance."

Posters and small informational cards are being distributed this month at downtown area businesses.

Materials include information about services available to homeless individuals and people with addictions.