The Orange County Sheriff's Department is planning to increase its patrols of the Santa Ana River and the homeless people who have set up "towns" along bike trail.
If the Board of Supervisors approves the plan next Tuesday, it will be a significant step in addressing the major homeless problem that has plagued the area for the past 18 months.
The riverbed has been ignored by police and sheriff's deputies because agencies shove the issue off, saying the problem is not in their jurisdiction.
Deputies will patrol the river as part of a "seven-day-a-week enforcement plan," but how many deputies and how they will operate have not been announced yet.
Undersheriff Don Barnes wrote in an email:
“We need to dedicate more resources to handle the concerning criminal element that continues to proliferate in the area. The Sheriff’s Department is best suited to take the lead on this specific problem.”
Residents and business owners say the homeless people harass them, and say that crime and used syringes have made their way into the surrounding neighborhoods.
Fountain Valley residents say they're discouraged from filling out crime reports, and Anaheim residents have complained that when they call the police they're bounced around from agency to agency without help.
Everyone needs to step up, especially the county!