Closer Look: San Francisco Sit-Lie Law Effective?

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Homeless man in San Francisco (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A homeless man in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – San Francisco’s Sit-Lie law prohibits people from sitting or lying on any public sidewalk or street in the City. Enforcement of the law began in March, after it was passed by voters in the November elections. At a recent public SFPD meeting, a Park Station lieutenant questioned the effectiveness of the law, saying she hasn’t “seen that it has done a whole lot.”

Park Station Captain Denis O’Leary told CBS 5 that while anyone sitting on the sidewalk seeing a police officer coming their way could just get up and move until the officer passes, the law still has been effective.

“Yes it is. You can see a marked difference on Haight Street since we have started applying the law,” said O’Leary. “There are less people sitting and lying on Haight Street because we are applying this law.”

Park Station reported that in March, six citations were written and two people were booked for violating the Sit-Lie ordinance. In April, the station reported 26 citations and eight bookings. Most recently, May brought 23 citations and two bookings.

Park Station police said a closer look at those numbers reveal that in April and May one man, Jason Luna, was responsible for 8 incidents. Another man, Morgan J. Seger, was responsible for 7 incidents. Both men together are responsible for 25 percent of the Sit-Lie infractions in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in the past two months.

Some police officer have said they would like to see the District Attorney’s office take repeat offenders of the Sit -Lie law to court to show a pattern that could then be declared a public nuisance. A specific penal code violation could result in a court order to stay out of an entire neighborhood, according to police.

The D.A.’s office told CBS5 that it will do everything it can to work with the police department on this issue.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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