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Homelessness is not a crime and is a nationwide problem that can be seen throughout southern California. The City of Murrieta and the Murrieta Police Department are approaching the problem proactively. The Murrieta Police Department has developed a two officer Homeless Outreach Team (H.O.T.) to address issues surrounding homelessness in the City of Murrieta. The team is deployed on varying shifts and days of the week in order to best serve the community as a whole.
The H.O.T. unit will operate collaboratively with other departments within the city, other law enforcement organizations, surrounding municipal governments, social services agencies and local non-profit groups to work toward assisting and reducing the number of homeless in our community.
The City of Murrieta adheres to the ethos of Responsible Compassion for the Homeless.
Yes, there are numerous resources available that provide general support, food and shelter. The Murrieta Police Department is in the process of developing an informational brochure listing the various resources available to the homeless. Once the brochure is completed it will be available via this website.
Upon observing a homeless encampment you should call the Murrieta Police Department non-emergency number at 951-696-3615. Providing the Communications Center with an accurate location and description of the camp will assist responding officers in locating and contacting the occupants of the camp. Once the camp is located and the occupants have been contacted, what is actually done about the camp is dependent on many factors. The responding officers will work closely with the many resources available to determine the best course of action to take regarding the removal of the camp, which typically occurs within hours or up to a few days at the most.
Yes, panhandling is legal as long as it is performed in a location where the subject has a legal right to be located. Panhandling on or within 500 feet of a freeway access ramp is not legal (22520.5 California Vehicle Code (CVC)). Panhandling while in the roadway is a serious safety issue. Anyone who is located on a center median or any other part of the right of way of a roadway while soliciting and their actions create a traffic hazard are subject to citation (21954 CVC). If you witness anyone panhandling on or near a freeway access ramp or within the right of way of a roadway please notify the Murrieta Police Department at 951-696-3615.
While panhandling in certain areas may be legal, alternatives to giving the subject money could be more effective. Donating to a local shelter, food bank or non-profit can help ensure aid is being distributed appropriately. Another strategy could be to purchase basic necessities, such as; food, water or clothing and giving it to the subject who is panhandling, in lieu of money.
Theoretically, it is illegal, however; case law established regarding property belonging to homeless persons makes it infeasible to prosecute for this offense. If you are aware of discarded shopping carts at a particular location, please call the Code Enforcement Unit at 951-461-6377. Code Officers will contact the appropriate business owner to facilitate the timely return of the shopping carts.
Yes, city parks are open to all persons during their hours of operations. There are certain actions that are prohibited in city parks, such as; smoking, consuming alcohol, using unruly language, loitering near bathrooms and littering. If any of the listed offenses are witnessed an officer can respond to take appropriate action. Everyone is also subject to the hours of operation established for all city parks, which is sunrise to sunset. Anyone without lawful business in a park during the hours the park is closed is subject to contact and citation. Lawful business would include those who have obtained city permits or are engaged in a contract to use the parks for sporting events. (Murrieta Municipal Codes 5.23.040, 9.01.040, 12.08.090, 12.08.060 and 8.24.120.)
Yes, drinking alcohol or using marijuana in public is illegal and is covered by Murrieta Municipal Code sections 9.01.040 and 9.01.060. If you witness someone drinking or using marijuana in public you can contact the Murrieta Police Department at 951-696-3615. Smoking at a public park is also a violation of the Murrieta Municipal Code (5.23.040) and the violator could be subject to citation.
Yes, it is illegal to remove recyclables from containers and is covered by Murrieta Municipal Code 8.28.10. If you witness this action taking place call the Murrieta Police Department at 951-696-3615.