Los Angeles "anti-vagrancy" laws among highest in nation
February 24, 2015
According to a recent study released by UC Berkeley School of Law, more Californian cities have enacted more anti-vagrancy laws than in any other part of the country. Los Angeles and San Francisco top the list of most anti-vagrancy laws at 23 each, followed closely by fellow Southern Californian cities Anaheim and Long Beach. The laws restrict anything from panhandling to sharing food with a homeless person to sitting in public spaces. Co-author of the study, Marina Fisher, feels the laws are discriminatory, stating that "you don’t hear about people camping at night to get the latest iPhone getting affected.”
Some of the laws have been in place for some time but were mostly disregarded. The study found that these types of laws have been more heavily enforced in recent years, jumping 77% in the past decade. Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington believes this increase stems from pressure from real estate developers and not local residents.
Homeless advocacy group Western Regional Advocacy Project will use the study's findings to challenge the ever increasing criminalization of homelessness in the state of California.