from this article:
The ordinance, which was adopted in 2005 and amended in 2009, makes it a Class 3 misdemeanor, the lowest level, for people to camp within city limits on public property, including in public parks, on city streets and sidewalks or any undeveloped land within city limits.
Is there a better use for city-owned undeveloped land than allowing homeless folk to camp? I can’t think of one.
Dan Musselman, the interim police chief, told the council the ordinance is an important way for police to reduce the danger of a catastrophic fire...
So enforce existing fire laws. Educate the homeless and let them know campfires during burn bans are not ok. There are already laws about that. Banning the homeless because they might make a fire is Orwellian pre-crime.
Or maybe firemen could volunteer to demo safer cooking/warming techniques with the kind of gear homeless folk use.
... and said other laws, like littering and criminal damage, are hard to prove and enforce.
Rule of Law means if you can’t prove a violation then you cannot punish the citizen.
Officers are required to give only a warning for a first offense and provide violators with a list of resources for places to stay for the night and other services for those experiencing homelessness, Sullivan said. Those camping out of “necessity” -- meaning the shelters were full or they were fleeing a dangerous situation, like domestic violence -- can use that as a defense against a citation.
Close, so close. Consider this approach: the ethical thing to do would be for the officers to be briefed by shelters. If the shelters have beds then the LEOs could transport the homeless there. If there are no beds then no enforcement that night. Fair?
In a presentation to the council, representatives from the police department listed 11 other cities that have similar ordinances, including Payson and Prescott in Arizona. Portland, Oregon, was also listed, but the ordinance there is no longer enforced. Of the 11 cities that do enforce the ordinance, Flagstaff had the lowest number of arrests in 2017, with only one. Denver had the lowest number of the other cities, with five, and Fort Collins, Colo., had the most, with 495.
PD: “Look! Other cities are doing it so it must be ok!”
Note to self: don’t spend any money in Ft Collins.
“There is no compassionate way to enforce the anti-camping ordinance,” said community activist Klee Benally. “Life is already hard enough for our unsheltered relatives on the streets.”
I’m one of those “heartless libertarians” and I have the same opinion. The fact that it’s governmental overreach is the cherry on the poisonous sundae.