We are so fortunate to serve a city that celebrates diversity and determination, where residents champion things great and small every day. We’re honored to protect and serve you, and we wanted to take a moment to shed some light on our efforts to create a comfortable and safe environment for everyone.
Today, you may have read that two of our officers with our Neighborhood and Event Services Unit towed a handful of vehicles – including two RVs. Please know, we do not do such things lightly. Out of a risk to public health, we towed the two RVs after we learned that they were leaking raw sewage onto the street. Three more vehicles – all cars – were towed after being repeatedly told to move from their current location.
Several warnings and citations were issued over several weeks, with a final notification given last week to give people ample time to move. We also made several attempts to connect these residents with services by referring them to organizations such as CSA. But, when we arrived on Tuesday to check in, the vehicles had not moved and raw sewage was still leaking onto the street. Because of the public health hazard and the fact that the vehicles had not moved for at least five days (and some had been stationary for even longer), we had to have them towed. Some media outlets have reported that a family with children was displaced due to the tows. For clarification, there was no evidence of children associated with any of the towed vehicles and we have no evidence to suggest that any families were displaced. When we come across these situations, we make every effort to connect families and children to appropriate social services.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in homelessness, and with that we have seen an increase in a need for our department to adapt to better address and assist this growing population. This increase is not just something that has happened in Mountain View – it’s something that is happening throughout the Bay Area.
As such, we created a unique role within the department – the Community Outreach Officer. The role, which is part of our Neighborhood and Event Services Unit, is designed specifically to act as a liaison between the department and vital services that operate right here in our community –such as CSA -- to best serve these individuals and families. Officer Mike Taber, the first officer to be assigned to this role, has been working daily to help these folks know how and where to go should they require services such as housing options and medical needs.
Solving the entirety of the struggles that result from homelessness can be a monumental effort, but that in no way has deterred the City of Mountain View and the Mountain View Police Department from enacting a compassionate, holistic approach. To see more on what efforts we have implemented and what they entail, visit here.
As we have begun meeting daily with residents, resident groups and other stakeholders who want to discuss how to best address improving the livelihood of those affected by homelessness, we have also been made aware of certain concerns. We know of instances where teenagers are cat-called as they are walking home by certain individuals who live in RVs on Crisanto Avenue. We are aware that there are a select few who are taking advantage of living out of a car or an RV to sell drugs and to intimidate other members of the RV community. Today, for example, we had to arrest a woman after we discovered she was selling heroin out of her RV that was stationed in Cuesta Park next to where children were having a picnic. We want everyone to feel safe, and this type of behavior is unacceptable.
We serve every resident, and we want you to know that if you need help, we are here for you. We want everyone to enjoy everything our wonderful community has to offer, and while homelessness is not an issue that is solved quickly, we know that by working together, we can try and do so with the upmost compassion and understanding. We also want to ensure in every way possible that our city is safe. That is what our residents expect, and that is what they deserve.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook, Twitter or Nextdoor.