Illegal Camping Crackdown in Chico

Nov 13, 2013 6:31 PM

This is a new sight outside Chico City Hall: Nothing. No trash, no sleeping bags and no people loitering in front. That’s because Chico Police has made more of an effort to stop illegal camping downtown. And the word seems to have spread.

“I heard the cops were getting really aggressive and have increased their patrol,” said Rusty Savage, a transient who moved from Eugene, Oregon to Chico about a week ago. During his travel down south, he heard Chico has become less transient friendly. And judging from the downtown plaza, the rumors seemed to hold some truth.

“When I came here there was like 30 people here pretty much everyday,” Savage said of transients gathering on the plaza. “And since I came here, there’s been a dramatic decrease in people.”

According to Chico Police records, CPD has issued more than 30 misdemeanor camping citations since early October. Chico park rangers issued another 20. Local business owners say the recent crackdown has already made a change in Chico’s culture.

”We see it for the past week; its completely different,” said Mohammed Shabbar, who owns Petra’s Mediterranean Food in downtown Chico. “We see less homeless, we see less people sitting down in the streets with dogs. We had to do this.”


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