View Full Version : Dealing with the homeless

Laser Sailor
06-25-2011, 6:38 PM
I'm currently working as an armed security supervisor for one of the largest security firms in southern California. I have some limited LEO experence as a Navy Master at Arms, but that experence never really covered dealing with homeless people (I was mostly handling drunken Marines and Sailors, dealing with domestic disputes ect.) I know that while most homeless are docile and easy to handle there is a percentage out there who are prone to extreme violence at the drop of a hat.

Being as my military LE experence never covered this part of my job I'm wondering if some civvie LEOs can chime in with ideas and tactics to use when dealing with transiant/homeless people. A major portion of my job involves either helping site security officers remove these people or removing them by myself from properties that we are responsible for.

I usually treat them as I would any suspect, I'm polite but firm, keep a 6-8 foot distance, watch the hands and eyes to see what they may be planning and keep my weapon hand empty.

I'm looking for info on more specific telltail things I can look for to keep myself safe, and tips or tactics you may use. If Opsec is a concern for you please feel free to PM me.

06-25-2011, 6:48 PM
Where are you working when you encounter bums? Are you at a shopping center? Apartment complex? A little more info may help. But the best bet is to ask them to leave, if they don't, contact police and they can get a trespassing case going. Just remember, being homeless isn't a crime. But if they're causing a disturbance, police can take action.

06-25-2011, 6:53 PM
If I think I will be in a area that Homeless Target. I carry fruit to offer them when asked for money. They never take the fruit, get mad, and walk off.

Laser Sailor
06-25-2011, 6:57 PM
My position is a mobile one, during my shift I am responsible for all the sites and guards in San Diego County so it may be a shooping center, apartment complex, HOA, industrial complex, anything really. And I know being homeless isn't a crime and that my job is simply to enforce the property owner's policies. I don't intend to go all "wannabe cop" on anybody. I'm just looking for a little info to augment what I already know about dealing with potentially violent people.

06-25-2011, 7:32 PM
You probably already have done this or thought of most of this, but here goes anyways.

1. Go to the police department and try to grab pamphlets for homeless shelters and other resources you can hand out. Always keep one for yourself so you can write down the info in case you get to your last pamphlet.

2. If warranted, start that trespassing case if it fits the bill.

3. Try to get the property owner to help you out by doing what one can call enviromental prevention. I.E. planting rose bushes in areas, up the lighting, etc. I am sure you can think of other stuff once you look at the area. I know there is some sort of sound emitter someone is selling that makes a low but annoying audible pitch that makes it annoying for people to hang out in an area for long periods of time as well.

....I think that's all I can think of.

If you do run into the 5150 violent ones, call the cops. No need to get stabbed with a needle for no reason.

06-25-2011, 8:41 PM
Most of the homeless that I dealt with were harmless, but some were total nutcases that would turn violent at the drop of a hat, so be careful. Many also have illnesses such as TB. I found that giving them some information as to where they could get help would often times resolve the problem and they would leave. Advise them that if they need help that they can call 211. This system works in almost all of California. The person can call 211 from any phone toll free and be referred to the various services in their area.

06-25-2011, 8:47 PM
Get VA Benefits booklets, I get tons of homeless guys who try to claim they are vets, hand them a VA booklet and they shut up. I lived downtown while I was stationed at Miramar, the homeless tend to shirk away from uniforms. Watch for people with obvious ticks, might indicate mental illness or drug use, and treat them with dignity. Font forget to actually look at then and treat them like human beings. You should be fine.

06-26-2011, 2:27 AM
Alright, best thing you can do is talk to them. It sounds like you're doing everything right. You're keeping your distance, which is smart. Most of them are nice. Start a conversation with them. The most interesting people I talk to are bums. Some are losers, and some actually have pretty good stories. Build up a relationship and tell them that you're just doing your job. 9 outta 10 will respect that and do whatever you ask.

06-26-2011, 3:26 AM
A majority of the ones I have had the "pleasure" of dealing with have some sort of mental illness. One guy in particular(when he's off his meds) walks up and down the street yelling obscenities at the top of his lungs while punching himself in the head/face, but if you stop and talk to him he'll calm down. My advice is treat them the same as you would any other person, firm and professional.

06-26-2011, 3:27 AM
I deal with homeless on the regular, I work security in Hollywood, and I've seen all types of homeless. Its a jungle out here. I need a better paying job :shifty: haha

06-26-2011, 8:40 AM
Most all of the ideas presented are, I think, good ones. Referring them to services available (you can go there, or you can go somewhere else, but you can't stay here on this private property) is always good. There are any number of tricks that will "repel" them, but the professional approach is the best starter. If you wind up having to be firm, having started from a business like approach will be best.

Those who are trying to, or have already, set up camp need to be moved along. Pronto. The first bowel movement you don't step in while checking a darkened area, you'll thank me. :)

+1000 on awareness of medical issues. TB and hepatitis are fairly common, the latter particularly with those who are addicts. Whooping cough is making a strong resurgence as well and it's a matter of time before that shows up in the homeless population. Mental health issues are rampant, and quite often are the root cause of the person's homelessness. Substance abuse is cause number two and in many cases is running in parallel with any given subject. Be alert to mood swings, and their signs.

06-26-2011, 3:14 PM
I started carrying the gross left over MRE's from my Drill weekends in the back of my patrol car.

So when we'd get a call for service to deal with them, I'd hand them a rat-fvcked MRE and they'd be pretty happy and move on.

I also throw old clothes in a bag in the garage and when I have a nice stack, I take it to work and throw it in the trunk as well and give it away too. Works most of the time...

06-27-2011, 10:30 PM
Be careful about removing their "valuables" for them (dumping the stuff in the garbage). Claims have been made such as "My Rolex is missing!" (not a joke). Have them remove their own stuff. Locally a developer tried to GIVE away some property homeless folks were staying. No one wanted the property due to the homeless headaches. A local homeowner finally got the property with balls to have everyone arrested he could.

Another local area had a massive fire due to homeless folks. A few homes almost went up in flames. That put an end to the homeless there.

Might want to talk to your company's legal folks for advice as well. This would also include the property's attorney your company is hired to protect (if they have one). I would also research the local homeless advocate (there is always one around) and see what their documents/web site state. The local district attorney's office is a good source of info too.

07-05-2011, 9:32 PM
I cite every transient I come into contact with who has either an open container, is in a median soliciting, or is soliciting within 500 feet of an on ramp. If they need money they can get a job.

With that being said, I have encountered some angry transients so always keep your guard up.

07-05-2011, 10:17 PM
I cite every transient I come into contact with who has either an open container, is in a median soliciting, or is soliciting within 500 feet of an on ramp. If they need money they can get a job.

With that being said, I have encountered some angry transients so always keep your guard up.

I had a discussion with a transient when I was off-duty and in Las Vegas, near one of the busier on-ramps. He told me can clear $500 dollars on a good day.

I'm in the wrong business.

07-06-2011, 12:09 AM
I usually public service them to a nicer town....like Barstow or Ludlow!!! ;)