Boulder's "social misbehavior" proposal: Reasonable or a war against the homeless?
Last August, we told you about a controversial portion of Boulder's ten year plan to fight homelessness: the targeting of so-called "unwelcoming behavior," much of it pinned to members of the community's homeless population.
Photos and more below.
Now, a Boulder City Council study group has taken on a very similar subject, tagged "social misbehavior" -- and the local branch of the ACLU is concerned that the effect of such a campaign could be to essentially criminalize homelessness. Photos and more below.
The issue is laid out in a PowerPoint presentation pertaining to the study group's meeting last night. The entire item is below, but one key slide describes the "problem" like so:
• Behavior by individuals congregating on the municipal campus has made the area inhospitable to others in the community.More specifics appear in the "social misbehavior" agenda item shared in a city council packet also on view here.
• The behavior includes significant criminal activity. (646 citations in 12 months)
• The municipal campus is a valuable community resource that is not currently available to the majority of community members.
The document maintains that of the aforementioned 646 citations and arrests during the twelve months between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013, more than half of them -- 326 -- were for trespassing, failure to appear, failure to comply or contempt of court, suggesting to the authors that this defendant population "may not care very much about legal obligations."
Photo by Britt Chester
Moreover, the packet reveals that "a relatively small number of individuals cause a disproportionately large percentage of the problems." Specifically, of 280 total defendants, thirty of them "were responsible for 220 of the 646 arrests and citations. Looked at another way, 11 percent of the defendants were responsible for 34 percent of the citations and arrests."
Hence, the folks behind the piece believe that tougher enforcement wouldn't be aimed at the homeless population in general, but only those who take part in "criminal behavior" and "fundamentally disregard the law."
Continue for more about Boulder's "social misbehavior" proposal, including original documents.