It’s something public officials and advocates like to say a lot: Homelessness is not a crime.
But that doesn’t mean homeless folks in San Diego don’t get punished for certain things directly related to being homeless.
Over the last five years, arrests and citations for “encroachment” – when a person encroaches on a public space, like a sidewalk – have soared, Kelly Davis reports in a new story.
That’s in spite of a 2007 legal settlement that made it so homeless folks in San Diego can sleep in certain public spaces from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. without being ticketed for illegal lodging.
One of the lawyers who helped secure that settlement said he believes police are using encroachment tickets to get around the settlement.
“They’re treating people like trash cans and ignoring the types of encroachment the law was designed to address,” he said.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Thank you, Sara Libby, and VOSD for your continued coverage of important issues. Regarding the homeless, something we downtown residents have to weigh constantly is where homelessness ends and lawlessness begins. This past Saturday morning I was waiting outside an East Village studio for my 8 a.m. Pilates class. A young man with a backpack approached me very ominously. First he was intimidating, then, threatening. I backed away, and he followed me several blocks. It was very frightening. This is not my typical experience with the homeless. Most are peaceful and go about their business. In another vein, I went into my neighborhood Albertson's last week, and there was not one grocery cart. At the check out, I learned that most had been stolen, and Albertson's was awaiting a new delivery. This is the complexity of this sad situation.