Police target transient areas
Resident complaints spur homeless-hangout crackdown
by Michael Ferraresi - Mar. 4, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Many transients, especially those with criminal backgrounds, [ Now where did he come up with this alleged fact? I bet the cop made it up! ] avoid homeless shelters, so they build elaborate cardboard shantytowns in the thick brush at the bottom of Valley washes. Others sleep in unwatched mountain preserve areas or squat in abandoned homes that go unreported by residents.
Phoenix police began cracking down on popular hangouts from Sunnyslope to north of Bell Road about a year ago, focusing on enhancing regular patrols with monthly sweeps to target repeat offenders with histories of criminal behavior.
Police in Maryvale said they could soon come up with a similar process to track complaints, especially with mounting concerns about the opportunistic crimes surrounding vacant properties in southwest Phoenix.
A program developed in northeast Phoenix's Desert Horizon Precinct targets the homeless who refuse to heed warnings. Some could be charged with trespassing and could face travel restrictions that limit their return. Police said homeless people down on their luck are offered suggestions on where to find shelter and resources as officers focus on jailing career criminals.
Sunnyslope business owners and neighborhood leaders often report transients drifting into commercial areas after stopping at nearby homeless centers and soup kitchens.
"My customers don't want to frequent my business when they're going to be accosted by transients panhandling or asking them for cigarettes," said Jim Mapstead, a Sunnyslope activist who runs an engraving shop at Seventh Street and Dunlap Avenue. [Well Jim, if you don't like homeless people don't let them on your property! But that doesn't give you the right to ban homeless people from PUBLIC property which it seems you want to do.]
Phoenix City Councilwoman Maria Baier said with most of the Valley's homeless resources located in Phoenix, including Desert Mission Food Bank and Vista Colina Emergency Family Shelter, some city residents have noticed a transient migration to their communities.
She called for a regional effort to identify how to avoid displacing transients from one area, only to move them to another part of the Valley where human services or homeless resources are scarce. [So repharased into English that means "We want to chase homeless people out of Phoenix so they never come back". Maybe Phoenix City Councilwoman Maria Baier should move to Nazi Germany, they and a wonderful program that got rid of Jews by killing them! ]
"The message that I hear is that we have a population of folks with tremendous needs that we are willing to take care of, but we cannot grow that population anymore," Baier said. [Lady, these people are living in the desert and don't want your stinking helpe!]
According to police, a group of 16 transients documented by Desert Horizon Precinct officers were responsible for 103 felonies and 412 misdemeanors. [OK, then lock the felons up in prison. But don't shake down law abiding homeless people for the crimes of a few homeless felons]
Phoenix police Sgt. Mike Dwyer and city officials said transients who violate travel restrictions or damage property, among other violations, could receive maximum 180-day jail sentences. Police work with community prosecutors to ensure maximum sentencing in some cases. [Sounds like cops HATE homeless people]
"We're dealing with people who don't want to be anywhere else but on the streets," Dwyer said. [Yea! And they don't want your stinking help so leave them alone!]
Officers targeted these areas, among others:
Police sweep targets transients trespassing in neighborhood
by Michael Ferraresi - Feb. 26, 2009 12:18 PM
The Arizona Republic
Three men sit startled in their sleeping bags, squinting through the bright glare of flashlights and bitter 4 a.m. cold to see who roused them.
A team of Phoenix police officers stood over the camp, asking them for ID and answers about why they built their makeshift bedroom past the "No Trespassing" signs behind a furniture store near Bell Road and 16th Street.
Rudolph Espinoza, 49, and two other men eventually left at officers' request, grumbling about a lack of shelter as they carried their limited belongings into the dark of the early morning. Espinoza told the officers he had served time in jail. But since he was free of warrants, and since the men were not wanted in any crimes, they were issued warnings to heed the signs.
Northeast Phoenix police began cracking down on transients from Sunnyslope to north of Bell Road about one year ago, focusing on enhancing regular patrols with monthly sweeps to target repeat offenders. Transients who refuse to heed warnings could be charged with trespassing and could face travel restrictions that limit their return.
"We aren't targeting homeless people," [But we are targeting homeless people] said Sgt. Mike Dwyer, who oversees community action officers at the northeast Phoenix Desert Horizon Precinct. "We're dealing with people who don't want to be anywhere else but on the streets." [Well you moron they are HOMELESS, where are they supposed to go?]
• Transient street criminals.
The people police focus on through transient roundups are a mix of career criminals and those simply down on their luck. Resident concerns about neighborhood blight and crime prompted Desert Horizon police to partner with community leaders on a plan to regularly respond to complaints.
The first thing officers do on sweeps is to provide transients with information on homeless shelters and human services. But some have backgrounds rich in criminal activity.
According to police, a group of 16 transients documented by Desert Horizon officers were responsible for 103 felonies and 412 misdemeanors. [Well then lock up these felons, but don't shake down the honest law abiding people who just happen to be homeless]
• Enforcement efforts.
Residents complain about transients returning to many of the same parks, alleys and hideouts. [So why is it wrong for HOMELESS people to use PUBLIC PARKS, when normal people can use PUBLIC parks with out being shaken down by the cops?]
Dwyer and city officials said recent efforts shifted to push for maximum 180-day jail sentences for transients in violation of travel restrictions. [Lets see, it cost the city about $80 a day to jail a homeless person in Maricopa County Jail, when it doesn't cost the city a penny when a homeless person sleeps in the desert. That doesn't seem like good use of tax dollars!]
Complaints range from safety concerns to basic aesthetic concerns.
"If you're taking your kid to the park, the last thing you want to see is a transient urinating against a tree," Dwyer said, adding that police work closely with community prosecutors and neighborhood services leaders. [So Phoenix Police officer Dwyer does think that homeless people should be discriminated against and not allowed to use the PUBLIC parks that normal people can use? And if the parks department would open up the restrooms the homeless would not have to be urinating against a tree! But of course the reason the government locked up the restrooms was to drive the homeless people out of the parks!]
• Resident concerns.
Transient lodging ranges from elaborate cardboard "condos" built into the thick brush at the bottom of washes to smaller shelters near businesses.
One man questioned during a recent sweep built his bed out of an old campaign sign.
Business owners and neighborhood leaders in Sunnyslope said transients drift into commercial areas after stopping at nearby homeless centers and soup kitchens, which alienates some visitors to the area.
"My customers don't want to frequent my business when they're going to be accosted by transients panhandling or asking them for cigarettes," said Jim Mapstead, a Sunnyslope activist who runs an engraving shop on Seventh Street. [Well then don't let on your property. But that doesn't mean it is right for you to ask the government to drive them out of the city! Homeless people should have the right to use public property like you do!]
"It's becoming more of an issue."