San Diego police have issued warnings to around 80 individuals for violating the city’s new camping ban. Five individuals allegedly violated the rule twice and received citations. But no one has yet been arrested for violating the ban for a third time.
First-time offenders receive warnings, second offenses result in citations, and a third violation can lead to an arrest.
Newly released data shows that there has not been a significant increase in citations or arrests related to laws aimed at clearing encampments. However, the number of individuals sleeping outdoors in some areas of San Diego has decreased.
Captain Shawn Takeuchi, who heads the city’s neighborhood policing division, attributes the low police encounters to outreach teams. The teams informed people about the ban prior to its enforcement, which prompted some individuals to voluntarily relocate or accept offers for shelter.
The San Diego City Council passed the camping restrictions in June to decrease homelessness rates. Many critics have argued that the ordinance has made it more difficult to reach and assist the city’s unhoused population.
City officials previously stated that law enforcement would concentrate on schools and parks. All five citations issued thus far were within or near Balboa Park.
While enforcement under these rules fluctuates, data indicates that areas in downtown San Diego previously occupied by encampments have become clear. The number of people living within the city has significantly decreased since the ban’s passing. Over 2,100 individuals resided in city encampments in May, and fewer than 1,300 have in August.
There has not been any data on whether the ban has helped unhoused individuals in accessing safe and stable shelter.