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Police Plan to Raid Homeless Camps in Santa Cruz
On July 9th, the Santa Cruz Police Department and the department of Parks & Recreation and Public Works issued a joint press release announcing an impending sweep of homeless camps located within the City of Santa Cruz over the next 30-45 days. Apparently SCPD has identified specific individuals in these camps that they plan to target, and in addition to busting up the camps, SCPD also plans to arrest individuals who have previously been cited in association with various ordinances that ban sleeping within city limits.
Full text of the July 9, 2012 press release:
"Santa Cruz Police, Parks and Recreation and Public Works Create Taskforce to Address Illegal Campsites
The Santa Cruz Police Department has teamed up with Parks & Recreation and Public Works to form a task force to address illegal campsite locations in the city. Over the next 30–45 days, the team will devote additional personnel and resources to address this increasing problem. Together, we will focus on the identification and eradication of illegal campsites. The team will also focus on strict enforcement of illegal behaviors associated with the campsites.
The formation of the task force comes amidst growing concerns over increased fire dangers, sanitation, environmental degradation and public safety. Concerns include illegal campsites around West Cliff beaches, freeway interchanges, San Lorenzo River Levee and rural park interfaces. Some individuals associated with the campsites have been cited numerous times by law enforcement, but have failed to appear in court. The court is handling these as “civil” matters as opposed to criminal. Part of our effort will include seeking warrants for anyone who has three or more “Failures to Appear” on Municipal Code citations, bringing it back into criminal court. The team will present packets on those individuals to the City Attorney’s office requesting arrest warrants. Currently there are 124 individuals identified as having 3 or more “Failures to Appear” on Municipal Code citations, with 691 outstanding violations.
The Police Department has setup a Hotline for community members to call over the next 30-45 days and report illegal campsites. Reported campsites will be put on the list in order of priority to be addressed. The Hotline number is (831) 420-5892."
(Press release posted at: http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=27930)
This announcement comes after three Santa Cruz City Council members, along with Monica Martinez, the director of the Homeless Services Center, endorsed new anti-homeless measures in the wake of the murder of a business owner near the downtown area in May.
Santa Cruz Council Members, Vice-Mayor Propose Anti-Homeless Measures After Recent Murder