To combat homelessness, San Diego police officers are increasingly turning to a local law that was originally enacted to address trash dumpsters blocking the public right-of-way.
Section 54.0110 of San Diego’s municipal code forbids “any vegetation or object” from encroaching on a public space. A log of arrests by San Diego police, going back to 2010, shows the law first being used on Occupy San Diego protesters, who’d set up camp in the city’s Civic Center plaza, in November and December 2011. In all, there were 11 encroachment arrests that year, according to the log. Arrests grew to 23 in 2012 and 76 in 2013. As of Aug. 4, there had been 64 arrests so far this year.