Guess what? The much-hyped sit-lie law ins't working. That's what the Bay Citizen reports today in a story that should surprise nobody who has any sense.
When the measure was headed for the ballot, I had this discussion with then-Chief Gascon, with then-Mayor Gavin Newsom's staff, with other supporters of sit-lie and anyone else who would listen. My point: Even beyond the civil liberties issues (which are huge), this was going to be a waste of time. Why? Because if there are people sitting on the sidewalk, and they're told they can't, they'll .... stand up. No more violation. Still people on the street.
And guess what Lt. Belinda Kerr from Park Station has to report?
There has been "a prolific amount of arrests, citations and warnings ... but I haven't seen that it's done a whole lot," Kerr said.
She said the transients will often get up when they see officers drive by in their patrol cars, but "unfortunately are getting up and going around the block and then sitting down again."
See? Tell people they can't sit down and they'll stand up. Then sit down again.
You want to deal with street crime? Deal with crime. Don't make sitting on the street a crime.
When Gascon and I talked about this, I told him that two uniformed beat cops walking up and down Haight Street from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day would solve any street crime problem without a new law. He agreed. Then he said it would be too expensive. I wonder what all these pointless citations -- and the legal work of prosecuting and defending them -- is going to cost. I suspect foot patrols would be cheaper.
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