City Officials to Report Rise in Homeless, Mentally Ill Incidents Requiring Police Response

Published : Monday, September 21, 2015 | 10:18 AM

Pasadena City officials are expected to reveal today a noticeable rise in homeless and mentally ill calls for police response since January.

The City Attorney/City Prosecutor’s Office, Pasadena Police Department and Housing and Career Services Department will present their reports on the issue of homelessness and aggressive panhandling during the meeting, along with recommendations on how to solve problems brought on by these issues at the monthly Public Safety Committee meeting at City Hall Monday afternoon.

Two major public order and safety problems that will be at the center of the discussion: homeless persons being drunk in public and, secondarily, the use of narcotics such as crack cocaine by the homeless.

The Pasadena Police Department says it has recorded over 3,300 calls for service related to homelessness between January and August 2015, most of them received from the Fillmore Metro-Union Station area, Lake Metro area and the Rosemead Foothill area in Pasadena.

The number of calls for service related to mentally-ill persons presenting potential danger to the public or themselves also rose noticeably, although police say not all of the calls were necessarily homeless-related.

Police are expected also to report at the Public Safety Committee meeting that of 2,549 arrests made during the January to August period, 507 were homeless-related arrests, and most of these for violation of California Penal Code 647(f) which has to do with being “drunk in public.”

There were 108 arrests of homeless persons who were drunk in public, topping the list of felonies and misdemeanors recorded among homeless persons.

The second biggest number of homeless person arrests – 38 – were for violation of Penal Code 11377, or possession of methamphetamines.

During the meeting, the City Prosecutor’s Office is expected to present comparisons of Pasadena’s municipal ordinances related to homelessness with those of the cities of Los Angeles, the biggest city in the county, and of Santa Monica.

The Prosecutor’s Office is working closely with the Pasadena police, Housing and Career Services and other departments to come up with solutions to the homelessness-related peace and order problems, including possibly imposing tougher sentences for recidivists and repeat offenders.

Pasadena Police meanwhile are stepping up efforts to cooperate with charitable institutions and individuals providing support to homeless individuals, particularly those that are service-resistant.

The Housing and Career Services Department meanwhile is expected to present a report that reflects reduced numbers of homeless persons in Pasadena – 632 in January 2015 compared to a peak of 1,216 in 2011 – but increased visibility of their presence and a difficulty in serving their needs.

The Public Safety Committee meets at City Hall starting at 4:30 p.m.

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