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Mayor: San Diego will step up enforcement on homeless

"Camping on the sidewalk should not be an option when alternatives exist,” said Mayor Gloria.

SAN DIEGO — Mayor Todd Gloria is doubling down on his efforts to help solve the homelessness crisis.

San Diego's homeless problem is the worst it’s ever been, with more than four thousand people living on our city's streets.

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But, Mayor Gloria says his administration is making some changes, which include ramping up enforcement on encroachment and illegal lodging laws.

"Camping on the sidewalk should not be an option when alternatives exist,” said Mayor Gloria.

Gloria acknowledges just how bad the homeless issue is in San Diego.

Last week alone, he says the city's ‘Get It Done’ app received 1,200 complaints all related to homeless encampments.

"This is the issue that I hear the most about from residents," said Gloria.

To help address it, he says San Diego Police officers have been out enforcing encroachment laws, ensuring people aren't sleeping on our streets and blocking sidewalks.

It's a four-phase approach that starts with a warning, followed by two citations. If the person doesn't leave or accept help, they're arrested.

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Of the 200 people contacted last week, 25 people were taken into custody, though only three of those arrests were for encroachment.

“We made a total of 25 arrests. 22 of those arrests were for warrants, either felony or misdemeanor warrants. The warrants were for identity theft, assault with a deadly weapon, narcotics, possession of a weapon,” said SDPD Captain Shawn Takeuchi.

In addition to cracking down on existing laws, Mayor Gloria says 450 shelter beds will also be added in the coming months.

At the same time, the mayor says the city has made it easier for people to check into area shelters in hopes of getting more people to agree to go.

“You can bring your belongings, your pets, your significant other. You don't have to be sober. We will take you just as you are,” said Gloria.

Despite all that, we've heard from CBS 8 viewers who say it's not enough.

They don't see the level of improvement city leaders have talked about.

We've also heard reports that some of the tactics being used aren't compassionate.

Some have reported seeing people's belongings being thrown away.

Both the Mayor and police addressed those concerns saying they only throw away belongings people don't want.

And as far as progress goes, it may be slow, but it's there.

“Homeless is the most complex issue we face and there are no easy or quick solutions,” said Gloria.

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