City Council passes new sit-lie ordinance

Kindra Robinson

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“Digger,” a local homeless man, sits with his cat, Spot, across from 7/11. Photo credit: Emily Teague

 

City Council passed a new ordinance on Sept. 15 that instills harsher punishments for individuals found sleeping, camping or other obstructive behavior in public places throughout Chico.

The city’s current sit-lie ordinance restricts people from sitting or lying in public places, such as sidewalks. Police issued citations to those in violation, however homeless people found themselves without a way to pay.

The new changes will allow police to arrest individuals who are found sleeping or storing personal property in public.

“I don’t think it’s an extreme problem,” said Esmeralda Ramos, junior nutrition major. “I think it’s a little bit overboard arresting them.”

This decision was in response to the large amount of homeless people found engaging in such behavior. University Police receive regular calls about individuals sleeping near the Physical Science Building on campus. There have also been reports of transients shouting at people downtown and scaring them away from local businesses.

Many homeless people find the ordinance to be unfair, criminalizing something that many feel they have little to no control over.

“It’s not our fault that we’re on the street,” said an anonymous homeless man in Depot Park. “Locking up the homeless is fruitless.”

The ordinance may be put into effect as early as November. The City Council listened to a number of citizens’ opinions before making the decision to pass the ordinance.

Kindra Robinson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @KR0bins0n1

 

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