San Diego Mayor Announces New Actions Against Homeless Encampments

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and city officials on Monday made a passionate plea to those who are living on city sidewalks, asking that they use the resources that are available.

City officials say it’s been making good on its promise to have shelters beds and resources for the unhoused. The city is also stepping up encroachment laws when it comes to those camping on the sidewalks

“Last week alone, the city received 1,200 reports from residents about homeless encampments submitted through our 'Get It Done' app,” Gloria said. “We are enforcing our laws forbidding encroachment on the public right of way. Now, to be clear, every enforcement operation follows days, if not weeks, of outreach teams repeatedly offering assistance and shelter.”

San Diego Police said the enforcement aspect works in four steps for those who don’t leave or accept help. First, it’s verbal contact warning while offering assistance and shelter to the homeless. Then, two different types of citations can follow; and lastly, an arrest can be made.

“If it means offer shelter, offer shelter. If it means holding people accountable for the law that they violate, it’s holding people accountable,” SDPD Capt. Shawn Takeuchi said. “So, I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s a tremendous amount of work, and we’re not going to give up.”

The endgame for this strategy is still to house as many people as possible. “But we cannot allow our streets to deteriorate while we do that work,” Gloria said.

San Diego Police said the direction that’s being given to officers during this period of stepped-up enforcement is if a person isn’t going to jail, the unhoused tents and other items aren’t being taken from them. “If an individual is at that fourth state of progressive enforcement and we are making a custodial arrest, then yes. We are asking the person to identify their personal belongings and we are taking custody of that per our policy and procedure,” Takeuchi said.

(Photo Getty Images)

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

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