Denver Direct: If “zero citations and zero arrests”, why do we need a new ordinance?

Monday, May 14, 2012

If “zero citations and zero arrests”, why do we need a new ordinance?

from the newsletter “Great 8” of Councilman Albus Brooks: 

One of the issues that need to be looked at with a fresh perspective is unauthorized camping in Denver’s urban core. No matter where you stand on the proposed unauthorized camping ordinance, I hope that you share my compassion for the “least of these” in society and that you are willing to help me look for solutions. We can no longer live in a City where it is acceptable to let people live and die on the streets. We can no longer live a life where it is normal to drop a few coins in a cup and ignore the pain and brokenness of humanity. What City Council is proposing, with the support from the Mayor, is not a silver bullet to ending homelessness, but it is a step in the right direction. While “homes not handcuffs” is catchy on a button, the reality of this ordinance is that it is focused on connecting services to those who need them, not locking more people up. There is absolutely no data that supports the claim that we will place people who want services in jail. The data we have shows no citations or arrests stemming from the Sit and Lie ordinance that was adopted in 2005. In studying other municipalities, like that of Colorado Springs, they instituted the same unauthorized camping bill in 2009 and have had zero citations and zero arrests.