Crime & Justice

Pomona Police shut down 11 homeless encampments, arrest 17

File: A homeless encampment.
File: A homeless encampment.
Jill Replogle/KPCC

Pomona Police shut down 11 homeless encampments and arrested 17 people on Thursday night. The operation was carried out by the department's Homeless Encampment Action Response team, known by the acronym HEART.

The police detail carries out nighttime enforcement at encampments in Pomona every few months.

"The reason that we have these nighttime details is we have ordinances within the city where people can't be in parks, and so some of our homeless population, our community like to use the parks as a place to live," Sgt. Anthony Catanese, who heads the team, told KPCC.

Encampments are a safety hazard, Catanese said.

"Homelessness is not a crime — It shouldn't be criminalized, but you can't be lighting a fire in a fire zone. It's just unacceptable. It's an arrestable offense," Catanese said.

The HEART team connects homeless people who want more services with help and shelter.