The homeless have rights that must be accommodated. So do local residents, though it sometimes feels like we forget those.
Whether you accept them, or rail against them, there will be homeless folks, and transients, and panhandlers.
We might as well acknowledge that, until there is some incredible cure for homelessness, we all have something to do with it. If something is wrong, we should call law enforcement.
Police are limited in what they can do, but the limits don’t mean that bad behavior must be tolerated – if we have a problem, we should call it in.
We printed a story recently in which some business people were frustrated by the actions of homeless citizens – they talked about people camping out on private property, leaving garbage on private property, smoking marijuana just outside the doorway, being belligerent ...
Judging bad behavior really isn’t much different from homeless to housed.
If someone is acting badly, call it in. If it’s that they’re sleeping on a public bench and don’t look good ... not much can be done.
If they’re blocking the way, trespassing, stealing, threatening ... there’s no reason not to expect law enforcement to intervene.
From our experience, police are very responsive. It’s just that one incident dealt with doesn’t do much about the larger problem of a burgeoning homeless population.
Police can’t run transients off of public property; they can’t prevent someone from taking rest on public property. They have to tend to the civil rights of the homeless the same as anyone.
The police ... none of us ... can make them go away. They’ll be here. They are our neighbors and should be expected to respect private property and be good citizens.
We are expected to show compassion for people in a tough situation; that doesn’t mean they can’t be expected to exhibit good citizenship.