Should being homeless be a crime? | The Tylt

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Should being homeless be a crime?
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In some cities, being homeless is a crime. Advocates for the homeless say criminalizing behavior such as sleeping in public, urban camping, and feeding the homeless is beyond cruel because it's targeting an already vulnerable community. Others say it is a public safety issue—they see homeless camps as havens for drug use and crime—and the city must treat it like one. What should be done?

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Many argue the laws are necessary to address very real issues in the community. No one wants to further punish or hurt someone experiencing homelessness, but the reality is their presence can be disruptive and sometimes dangerous. 

“They engage in what I call survival tactics, which oftentimes involves illegal activities,” said Godby, a Bucoda resident who has experienced bouts of homelessness himself.
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“Trouble is inherently part of that lifestyle. It’s hard to live in that life and not have problems.”
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Godby’s take on the homeless is backed up by a 2010 report from the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing at the University at Albany in New York. The longer a person is unsheltered and chronically homeless, the more often that person engages in criminal behavior such as public intoxication, petty theft and trespassing, according to the report.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Among the chronically homeless, the people most likely to get arrested are those with mental illness, the report says.
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The presence of transients can create an environment of lawlessness, according to the study, prompting residents to avoid parks that have a large number of homeless because they fear the transients control the spaces.In Olympia, police say the walking patrol’s daily presence is making a difference in the perception of lawlessness caused by transients.
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Advocates say laws targeting homeless people are discriminatory. They are especially despicable when seen in context—these laws are targeting some of the most vulnerable and down-trodden citizens. Instead of criminalizing these people, we should be doing everything we can to help them. 

After conducting more than 1,300 interviews, the coalition identified six key rights homeless people need protected. The bill aims to ensure that homeless people can move freely and sleep in public spaces, sleep in a parked vehicle, eat and exchange food in public, obtain legal counsel, gain access to hygiene facilities at any time of day and, if in criminal prosecution, be able to use “necessity defense,” which asserts a defendant had no choice but to break the law.
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FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should being homeless be a crime?
A festive crown for the winner
#HomelessHaveRights
#DontTolerateCrime