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Tue Sep 18 2012 (Updated 09/19/12)Criminalization of Sleep is Focus at Candlelight "Tent" Vigil
Tue Sep 18 2012 (Updated 09/19/12)Community Members Demand End to Homeless Sweeps in Santa Cruz
Over the last ten weeks, a series of raids targeting the homeless has been conducted as part of a coordinated effort by the Santa Cruz Police Department and the city's departments of Parks and Recreation and Public Works. In response, community members who are hoping to form a new coalition with the intention of ending the criminalization of homelessness and sleep in Santa Cruz, held a candlelight "tent" vigil on September 9th.
According to the most recent update from the SCPD, 510 citations have been issued, and there have been 155 arrests, 205 campsites posted for abatement, and 87 campsites "cleaned", all occurring over the course of the last ten weeks. In July, as the raids commenced, it was also announced that individuals with three or more outstanding citations for sleep related infractions would now have their cases handled in court as a criminal matter. This reversed the former policy where sleep infractions were handled as a civil matter. The City of Santa Cruz now effectively treats homelessness as a "three strikes, you're out" crime.
"I've been in this town for 31 or 32 years. I have never seen a sweep like the one we've had in the last six or seven weeks," said longtime Santa Cruz resident and homeless rights activist Becky Johnson.
Read More and View Photos | Videos | After the Friday Tent Vigil--Good Times Coverage and Tuesday City Council Meeting | Homeless Sweepsters Have Candidate Forum at SCPD Community Room | See Also: Occupy Santa Cruz Returns with Tent Mob, So Do Police | Occupy Santa Cruz Celebrates Past Successes with TENT MOB at Court House
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