Homeless campsite near the creek bed along Calle Cesar Chavez (February 2012)

Last Sunday, the Santa Barbara Police Department performed three homeless camp cleanups, bringing the total to 29 cleanups this year. Last year, there were 16. The effort is part of an ongoing program that police — along with the city Public Works department and SWAP (Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program) — have carried out for the last several years, though recent crackdowns have been sporadic due to a problem coordinating resources, according to police spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood. The department gives out 72-hour warnings so people can remove their belongings, Harwood said

The camps that were cleaned up recently included one located on the 200 block of Garden Street, one near the Highway 101 Arrellega Street exit, and one on the 300 block of Castillo Street. When asked if the recent efforts have anything to do with the approaching holidays, Harwood said they did not, adding that the cleanups are done on an as-needed basis when there are enough resources. “We don’t go to places that are not overgrown where the problems don’t exist,” said Harwood. “These are places where we start having problems with health and safety.”


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