Racial disparities have long loomed over – and exacerbated – San Diego’s homelessness crisis.
As our Lisa Halverstadt writes, a new homeless camping ban the city is set to enact later this month will force the city to again confront the disproportionate impact that homelessness and police enforcement have on its Black population.
Dig into the numbers: Black San Diegans represent 6 percent of the city’s population per the latest Census data but 27 percent of the city’s unsheltered population per the latest homelessness point-in-time count.
So, how does it compare? A Voice of San Diego analysis of police data reveals Black San Diegans were on the receiving end of nearly 28 percent of arrests and citations for the foremost charge the city now uses to police homelessness. That’s encroachment, or essentially, blocking a sidewalk.
The takeaway: Police leaders have a legitimate argument to make: That enforcement data aligns with the population of unsheltered Black San Diegans. Still, because Black residents are disproportionately represented in the city’s homeless population, they are disproportionately impacted by enforcement.
Refresh on Policing Outcomes
The chart above shows that encroachment enforcement has dropped drastically in recent years. That means less people of all races are getting tickets for encroachment. But even as overall ticketing has gone down, the chart shows racial disparities persist. (Click here to view the chart in your browser.)
Three months ago, reporter Will Huntsberry revealed similar trends in general policing. Police stops have fallen dramatically in the last three years, he found. But despite the drop in stops, racial disparities crept up in stops and use of force.
One police captain cited the disproportionate number of Black homeless people as a reason for the disparity that was beyond cops’ control. (Black people represent roughly 6 percent of the population, but 26 percent of use-of-force cases.) One researcher, however, countered that there should be “a huge burden of proof” on police leaders to explain why that level of disparity is justified.
The Learning Curve: SDUSD’s Big Budget Deficit
San Diego Unified is projecting an eye-popping $128.9 million budget deficit in the 2024 – 2025 school year. The year after that, the district projects it will grow to $182 million.
The projected deficits are due to a confluence of factors, Jakob McWhinney writes in the latest The Learning Curve newsletter. Districts across the state are having to weather a variety of challenges, from the expiration of federal Covid funds that buoyed school budgets to declining enrollment and average daily attendance to less state funding.
The district has floated multiple strategies to balance the budget, like a hiring freeze and reductions in programming the district created with the temporary federal funding. But unlike past budget deficits, school officials say they’re confident they won’t have to resort to layoffs to plug the hole.
In Other News
- A former employee of a Southeast San Diego charity set up to help vulnerable people get back on their feet has filed a lawsuit accusing the CEO of repeatedly sexually assaulting her. (Union-Tribune)
- You aren’t imagining it – San Diego has been uncharacteristically cool this year. June marked eight straight months of below-average temperatures, the longest such streak since at least the 1960s. (Union-Tribune)
- Despite hiring more staff to take on the backlog, San Diego still has thousands of broken streetlights that need fixing – and that number will continue to grow. (inewsource)
- Researchers at UC San Diego have discovered a way to edit the genes of mosquitoes to slow the reproduction of the malaria-spreading insects. (NBC)
- San Diego’s newly minted Privacy Advisory Board is off to a rocky start. In a new op-ed for Voice, Brian Hofer, the former chair of Oakland’s Privacy Advisory Commission, argues that it’s in need of a reset.
The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Will Huntsberry and Jakob McWhinney. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.