An Open Letter to Senator Steinberg
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Senator Steinberg, please help homeless victims of crime! Homeless people become crime victims much more often than most people do.
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Living and sleeping in the open and in shelters leaves them vulnerable to thefts, sexual assaults, and crimes of all kinds. About half of homeless people have intellectual or physical disabilities that make them more vulnerable crime targets. Their disabilities sometimes also lead hate-filled people to commit violence against them.
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Police often don’t take these crimes seriously. Officers sometimes even confiscate homeless people’s property and allow it to be thrown away.
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Now there’s a bill in the Legislature that would help. It is Senate Bill 110, called the Crime Victims with Disabilities Act.
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Loaves & Fishes, the Sacramento Housing Alliance, Resources for Independent Living, and The Arc of California have appealed for help to Sacramento’s Senator, Darrel Steinberg. Senator Steinberg is the leader of the Senate and is in a powerful position to help get the bill through the upper house and send it on to the Assembly, and he has shown in the past that he cares about homeless people who are crime victims.
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In a letter to Senator Steinberg, Loaves & Fishes and the Sacramento Housing Alliance said that Senate Bill 110 requires the Department of Justice to immediately inform every police chief and sheriff in California of each the following:
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1. The fact that current law generally requires law enforcement agencies to train their officers using the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training’s excellent telecourse on law enforcement response to homelessness.
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2. The Legislature’s strong encouragement that local law enforcement agencies provide the training in conjunction with homeless and formerly homeless people and their advocates and service providers.
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3. The Legislature’s strong encouragement that each local law enforcement agency adopt a formal policy on law enforcement response to homelessness based on the Commission’s telecourse and the California Department of Justice report and recommendations.
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In addition, SB 11 0 ’s other provisions, designed to help victims with disabilities, will also help many homeless people.