CRIME TIME provided by the Santa Barbara Sentinel
CRIME: A 31-year-old homeless man in a shelter started arguing with another shelter-dweller at around noon on Thanksgiving. When he was asked to leave, the man refused and was eventually escorted out by a security guard. Once on the sidewalk, the (white) man turned to the (black) security guard and yelled, “I’m going to kill you, n*%$#@!” as he pulled out a knife and took a “ﬁghting stance.” SBPD was called and the man was arrested for hate crimes and brandishing a weapon, among other charges.
OBSERVATION: This kind of crime is disgusting and intolerable anywhere but perhaps especially here in Santa Barbara, where we pride ourselves on being generally open and accepting. There are exceptions to this, of course, but we are a pretty tolerant corner of the world. And that’s a good thing, generally. But there must be limits. This type of behavior cannot be tolerated. Neither can the ever-expanding population of young and abusive bums pissing all over State Street and smoking crack in the city parks. It’s time, as a tolerant and reasonable community, to put an end to this nonsense. And we’re not afraid to say it.
COMMENT: With the foregoing comments in mind, ﬁrst, if you are 31 and homeless, you have likely made a series of bad choices. Go get clean or seek the help you may need. The services are there. Stop making excuses, take control and responsibility for your life and go get a job. Second, if you are 31 and homeless, don’t be such an asshole to those people who are trying to help you out on a holiday. Show some respect and you just might get some in return. Third, and last, to all of you who give money to panhandlers and sympathize so much with the plight of the young homeless, think about this guy the next time you reach for some change. We’re not saying all homeless are like him but some (or more) are and seem quite emboldened these days, and you’re only feeding the problem. Period.
Stuck on the Throne
CRIME: A 56-year-old Carpinteria resident was too drunk to get off the toilet at a State Street gas station on Thanksgiving and was detained for public intoxication.
OBSERVATION: Wow, that must’ve been one hell of a Thanksgiving feast. Maybe next year this guy should consider bran muffins instead of Hawaiian sweet rolls to mop up all that gravy. Or lay off the third helping of candied yams with pecans. Or maybe he should just lay off that eighteenth beer or twelfth glass of wine. (On second thought, we recommend going with the bran muffins. Just stay the night after dinner and sleep all that booze off.)
COMMENT: Imagine being 56 years old and too drunk to get off of a gas station toilet while the cops are there, doing everything they can to avoid having to pick you up, wipe your ass and take you to jail. Now imagine having to wake up in the drunk tank the next morning with a debilitating hangover next to a dry (and probably half-eaten) baloney sandwich, only to be forced to face the very same officers that arrested you eight hours earlier. Now imagine you’re a woman. One word: Horrifyingly humiliating. (Oops, that’s two.)
Burglary Gone Bad
A caller who wishes to remain anonymous reported that a jewelry and gold/silver emporium on upper State Street was the victim of some “highly sophisticated” criminals. Sort of.
CRIME: A couple guys (at least) backed their truck through the front of the small shop at around 3:40 am on November 28, 2012, in an apparent effort to loop a fire hose tied to the bumper around the super heavy duty safe and drag it down State Street. (Imagine the inconspicuous get-away involving a rooster-tail of sparks and dreadful high-pitched squealing.) But when they backed the truck up, they pushed furniture and loads of other stuff against the safe, thereby rendering any such plan unworkable. (It wouldn’t have worked anyway given the nature of the safe.) They took off completely empty-handed after the alarm went off.
OBSERVATION: Even though these would-be thieves got nothing, they destroyed antique display cases and caused a huge amount of damage to the store itself.
COMMENT: It’s hard to know what to say to something like this… these masterminds literally annihilated a long time local shop and got nothing for it.Tell the cops if you know anything about what happened and let’s hope for some justice here. And hey, outlaws, stop driving vehicles into businesses—it almost never actually gets you anything of consequence and causes a big mess.
Moronic Movie Mayhem
CRIME: A bunch of Thanksgiving families were gleefully enjoying a film at Fiesta Five on State when a drunk and disorderly 45-year-old transient broke into the theater and began drinking and harassing patrons. The man was repeatedly asked to leave but didn’t until he was escorted out and detained for public intoxication by SBPD – but that happened only after the guy fell directly on top of a number of terrified moviegoers.
OBSERVATION: Here we go again, another disrespectful drunken homeless guy. Imagine taking your excited kids to a movie on newly holiday-decorated State Street over the long weekend, and having to explain to them that the stinky drunk guy who just fell on top of them didn’t mean any harm. Or that police officers wrestling with an obnoxious filthy moron in the movie theater is perfectly normal. We’d almost rather talk about the birds and the bees. (Almost.)
COMMENT: We get it, homeless folks. Life is hard. (It’s hard for those of us with jobs and homes, too, but we digress.) You have problems. (So do those of use with jobs and homes, but we digress.) You demand services and generally get them (or at least have them available). But then you go out and defiantly deface our beautiful city, harass local business owners and generally have no respect for law and order or your generally accommodating neighbors. So why should we keep wasting time and effort and money providing services to you? Why shouldn’t we just pass incredibly strong legislation outlawing the types of activities in which you openly and brazenly engage and then assign a task force to strictly enforce them all day every day? Yeah, we might spend more money incarcerating all of you in the short run, but our feeling is that you’d eventually leave the area if all you ever did was sit in jail instead of on State Street and our local beaches. So maybe we’d do better that way. Don’t get us wrong, that’s probably not the best solution – not by a long shot – but the homeless community must make a serious effort to clean up its act at this point. People say it takes two to tango, and our perspective is that the only people dancing right now are the advocates and sympathizers. It’s time for the transients themselves to step up to the plate and start being a part of the solution rather than worsening the problem.
Ok, all right. We’ll get oﬀ the soapbox. There’s so much more to talk about. Like the young (underage) UCSB student from Santa Rosa who mumbled to cops that he was “walking to IV” from State Street at 2:30 am and then vomited all over himself. (Twice.) Or the lunatic gang member who threatened security at the Wildcat, telling them that he knows “where they live” just before being slammed and arrested. (How tough.) Or the 48-year-old SB resident who was found passed out in the gutter on Garden Street (seriously). Or the 43-year-old crack head who smoked a big crack rock and then called police to turn himself in on outstanding warrants that didn’t exist. (When SBPD told him that they couldn’t bring him in on any warrant charges, he told officers that he would “rob someone for crack” if he wasn’t taken to jail.. and he was locked up. Remember that crack head on Chappelle’s Show? Classic.) We can keep going… but it’s time to stop.