Huffpost San Francisco

San Francisco's Sit/Lie Law Radically Ineffective, Report Claims

Posted: Updated:
SF Weekly
SF Weekly

This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly's The Snitch.

By Laura Rena Murray

A new report released by the City Hall Fellows demonstrates just how ineffective San Francisco's sit/lie ordinance is, with the bulk of last year's reviewed citations going to the same 19 repeat offenders, according to the report.

Voters approved sit/lie in November 2010, with the hope that it would crack down on loitering, especially in the city's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. The new law restricted sitting or lying down on public sidewalks from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Anyone busted resting on the public sidewalks during those hours could get a $100 ticket.

The report surveyed data gathered by 10 police stations from the SFPD's internal tracking system. Not surprisingly, the Park Station, which serves Haight-Ashbury, Cole Valley, Duboce, Twin Peaks, and Western Addition, seemed especially enthusiastic when it came to "vigorously enforcing" the new ordinance, according to the report released last night.

Officers at the Park Station were six times more likely to hand out tickets than the other cops, most often along Haight Street. And more than half of the citations given out by that station last year went to the same four offenders, the report said.

So who exactly are these repeat offenders that can't seem to keep moving? According to the report, the cops are repeatedly ticketing "an older homeless population, many of whom suffer from both mental and physical health conditions."

What's more, when sit/lie offenders can't pony up $100 for the fine, they are then slapped with an arrest warrant. Several individuals already owe upward of $20,000 in unpaid fines.

The report raises some serious questions about the effectiveness of sit/lie when it comes to connecting repeat offenders to needed social services, although it's difficult to determine since the police don't keep track of the number of referrals they make upon issuing tickets.

However, the report points out something many people already suspected: The ordinance is a total failure in actually dissuading San Francisco's homeless from sitting on public pavements.

For more San Francisco politics and beyond, follow The Snitch on Twitter.

Around the Web

San Francisco Police Begin Enforcing Sit/Lie Law « CBS San ...

Closer Look: San Francisco Sit-Lie Law Effective? « CBS San ...

San Francisco's Sit/Lie Measure Passes - The Bay Citizen

Cops toss sit-lie law at Occupy SF | Dan Schreiber | Local | San ...

City to enforce sit-lie law to keep Occupy SF camp from returning ...

Former Sit-Lie Law Mayor to Teach Yet Another Course on Marxism ...

San Francisco Sit-Lie Ordinance, Proposition L (November 2010 ...

Sidewalks are for People » NO on Prop L, NO on Sit/Lie

Sit-lie ordinance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

SFPD Finally Enforcing Controversial Sit-Lie Law, But ... - SF Appeal

Sit/Lie Law Only Successful at Harassing the City's Aging Homeless, Report Says

Oakland police chief confronted and shut down at Justice 4 Alan Blueford townhall

Sonic attack on the poor

Should the Navy name a ship after Harvey Milk?

'Overwhelming military-type response': Report criticizes Oakland police ...