SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Drugs, trash and human feces left behind by residents of a nearby homeless encampment are worrying parents and park rangers in San Jose.
Tully Ballfields, the ballpark by which the camp is near, is home to the Spartan Little League.
Parents of children who play in the league are worried about the the activities of homeless people–they have broken into the bathrooms and often leave trash and waste behind.
The park used to get a lot of patrol help from San Jose Park Rangers, but they were told to stand down because it was too unsafe for them.
“They were told to stand down and to not perform any law enforcement duties over at the Tully Ballfields because it wasn’t safe enough for them to patrol there,” said Jonathan Fleming, president of the Senter Monterey Neighborhood Association.
“But it’s safe enough for kids to play baseball there, so go figure.”
“I don’t know what to do,” said Delores Smith, the president of the Spartan Little League. The league lost half of its players last season as parents grew more concerned.
“Parents don’t feel it’s safe enough for their children over there,” said Fleming.
According to Fleming and the San Jose park Ranger union, the homeless encampment is growing even more out of control.
A spokesperson from the Parks and Recreation department said that police are doing more patrols in the area, and that officers will sometimes accompany park rangers during cleanups.
But a San Jose Park Ranger source called that a “poor band-aid to extremely serious safety concerns.”
“This does absolutely nothing to address the daily dangers that rangers face. Rangers are currently tasked with law enforcement duties, but are not given the standard safety tools (firearms and tasers) to do it safely,” said the source.
Fleming said, “It doesn’t make sense to me at all–they need firearms.”
Smith agrees, but she says she’s not sure what to do keep the little league players safe.
“I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to give up on these kids,” she said.
The Parks and Recreation spokesperson says they have increased their landscaping maintenance.
The park rangers will go before the San Jose City Council in December to discuss the firearm issue.