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My story Monday about drug activity in the East Village focused on two contributing factors: the nearby freeway and the area’s large homeless population. The neighborhood’s southeast corner attracts the homeless for its numerous social services, including the city’s two homeless shelters.

The city’s winter shelter along 15th Street is the more controversial, and its location is debated by the City Council every year. As part of my research for the story, I wanted to explore whether having the winter shelter in the area affected drug crime.

The graphic below represents the number of people arrested each month for drug crimes in 2009 in the southeast corner of the East Village, the area surrounding the winter homeless shelter. The red sections represent months when the shelter was open last year (not including late November).

The graphic shows that police arrested more people in winter than summer, but spikes during other parts of the year make a correlation between drug crime and the winter homeless shelter less clear.

But what do you think? Keeping in mind that other factors influence drug arrests, does a significant correlation between drug arrests and the winter homeless shelter exist?

Please don’t hesitate to email your thoughts to me at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or sound off in the comments section of this blog post.

— KEEGAN KYLE

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