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Sleeping/Living in your vehicle (van, car, etc). Will it get someone arrested?

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  • Sleeping/Living in your vehicle (van, car, etc). Will it get someone arrested?

    The nomad/van dwelling lifestyle is becoming more popular these days due to the bad economy. As LEOs, how do you handle situations when you discover someone is sleeping or living in their vehicle? I'm more interested in how people who are breaking no other local laws, than maybe trespassing or vagrancy, are treated and not drunks or druggies. Tell them to move along? Ticket them immediately? Arrest?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    This is where being a social worker comes into police work. There are people that are down on your luck you can try and give them info on shelters or homeless centers. For veterans there is a huge outreach to get them off the streets and lots of programs to get them in to temporary housing till they can do stand up on their own feet. Go by a VA Hospital or VA outpatient clinic and ask them what programs are available for veterans in your area and get some referal information for when you do come in contact with them. Go by some of the churches and social services offices and get information that you can pass on to homeless families. Being a police officer isn't always being out to catch the criminals, there is a balance of being a law enforcer and being a social worker in the job too.
    GOD IS A NINJA WITH A SNIPER RIFLE, WAITING TO TAKE YOU OUT.

    "For weapons training they told me to play DOOM"

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    • #3
      And another journalism major graduates.

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      • #4
        In my neck of the woods a lot of crime is attributable to folks who sleep in vehicles, simply because of the poverty associated with their situation. As a result, contact with them is good for a field interview card and a warrant check at the very least. Assuming they appear to truly be victims of the economy and nothing else, they would probably be sent on their way with a warning for a city ordinance violation re sleeping in a vehicle and directed to resources that can assist them.

        The major counties where I have worked (Southern California) publish resource books for law enforcement that list services available to people in need (shelter for the homeless, food for the hungry, refuge for battered spouses, assistance for emotionally disabled persons, help for folks with substance abuse problems, free clothing, etc.) the list is pretty long.

        This resource book is made available to every PD and SO in the county and lists available resources in or near to their service area. Most officers copy the pages relevant to their jurisdiction and carry them in the field for reference if needed.

        I suspect your county does the same thing.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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        • #5
          Here's a wrinkle for you:

          What if they are people who just want to live a mobile lifestyle without the expense of a home or apartment? I believe they call it "boondocking" or "stealth parking."

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          • #6
            Not real certain just what you're looking for ,although I suspect a research project, homework, or a term paper. In the State of Alabama, living as you describe is not a violation of state law. OTH, it is a violation of municipal ordinances in many cities. Past that, I'm unable to add to the excellent replies you've already received.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
              Not real certain just what you're looking for ,although I suspect a research project, homework, or a term paper. In the State of Alabama, living as you describe is not a violation of state law. OTH, it is a violation of municipal ordinances in many cities. Past that, I'm unable to add to the excellent replies you've already received.
              Nope, I'm just curious how LEOs treat van/rv dwellers. I have been learning more about the lifestyle and there are many reports I've read of people being hassled for sleeping in their vehicles, even at Waltmarts and other places that allow it. I figured I'd get the scoop from real LEOs to hear their side of the story. Thanks for the good responses so far!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rico_suave View Post
                Here's a wrinkle for you:

                What if they are people who just want to live a mobile lifestyle without the expense of a home or apartment? I believe they call it "boondocking" or "stealth parking."
                I make sure they do this "boondocking" elsewhere.


                Originally posted by rico_suave View Post
                Nope, I'm just curious how LEOs treat van/rv dwellers. I have been learning more about the lifestyle and there are many reports I've read of people being hassled for sleeping in their vehicles, even at Waltmarts and other places that allow it. I figured I'd get the scoop from real LEOs to hear their side of the story. Thanks for the good responses so far!
                RV dwellers are fine............as long as they are parked in campgrounds or WalMart parking lots
                Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                • #9
                  If they're legally parked on a public street and sleeping I don't care...if they're in a private parking lot and the RO of that lot wants them gone I'll have them move off.

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                  • #10
                    +1 to Hotsoup's comment. Unfortunately, they are making targets of themselves, but...if they have permission to be where they are, doesn't bother me a bit.
                    sigpic

                    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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                    • #11
                      As with all things, context is important. If you're sleeping in your car parked behind a warehouse in the dark, you're going to "hassled". If you're parked at a rest area, not so much.

                      On a side note, what many of these people consider being "hassled" is anything but. For example, if I'm checking cars and see a guy on his back, out of it, I'm going to knock on the window. At this point, I don't know if the guy is sleeping or having a medical crisis. Since I'm making contact with them, I'm going to identify them. If they're in a reasonable spot, everything checks out, I move along. The whole contact takes less than 2 minutes. Most of these types will consider that being "hassled".
                      Originally posted by kontemplerande
                      Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SRT936 View Post
                        As with all things, context is important. If you're sleeping in your car parked behind a warehouse in the dark, you're going to "hassled". If you're parked at a rest area, not so much.
                        Unless you are flashing your brakelights at passing truckers.
                        Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."

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