DA: Homeless are more likely to be victims and perpetrators of crime in SD County

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — The San Diego County District Attorney on Monday announced a strategy to prevent homeless people from becoming involved in crime, after releasing data showing that homeless people in the county are likely to be both victims and perpetrators.

The DA’s office says that, based on two years of provincial data collected from November 2019 to October 2021, homeless people have been involved in crime “with much higher ratings than the rest of the population,” whether they were victims or perpetrators. .

Recidivism rates were also high for homeless people during the two-year period surveyed, with 83% of homeless defendants having two to four new cases brought against them by local prosecutors, and 15% having five to nine new cases.

In response, the DA’s office released a three-point plan that it says will address the correlation between homelessness and crime by reducing the number of unprotected people living on the streets.

The plan includes:

— Develop an app that locates available shelters, treatment and housing options for the homeless. The DA’s office says the data collected on shelter use and availability would help the county shape effective policies to address future needs and investments.

— The development of a Homeless Enhanced Legal Program aimed at addressing the legal problems of people who are chronically homeless, as well as substance abuse and mental health problems. The three-pronged program would include a field-authorized diversion program targeting minor infractions, a post-file diversion program targeting specific services for the homeless, and a collaborative court serving individuals at high risk and dire need through root causes of crime. address the individual. homelessness, mental disorders and/or substance abuse problems.

— Supporting an amendment to the state law that would allow for up to 72 hours involuntary commitment of a person if a licensed mental health practitioner finds he needs such psychiatric treatment. The OM says the current law only allows involuntary arrests if a person poses a danger to themselves or others, or is severely disabled.

“Providing humane and effective solutions to the complex and growing problem of homeless people in San Diego County requires a shared strategic plan that will turn things around,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan.

“I appreciate the many officials, groups and individuals in our cities and counties who have worked tirelessly on this issue to make many encouraging efforts. In my role as the county’s top public safety officer, my goal is to provide solutions powered by my team’s unique experience where homelessness, mental health, and substance use disorders intersect with the criminal justice system.

“These data showing the drastically higher rates of a person becoming homeless and becoming a victim or perpetrator of a crime shows that homelessness is both a humanitarian and public security crisis that urgently needs to be addressed. It is unacceptable to allow individuals to continue to languish in the grip of mental illness, drug addiction and poverty.”

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