Seniors say threats, theft and trespassing new normal after homeless encampment enters area – CBS News 8

Orchard Active Senior Living residents say homeless are demanding to use their bathrooms.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — People who live in a senior living facility are speaking out saying, they’re no longer safe in their own homes.    

The Orchard Active Senior Living Apartments off Sports Arena Boulevard is right next to a new homeless encampment and the folks that live there say, crime is out of control in their community and enough is enough.

The neighbors are banding together to fight back.

About a dozen neighbors gathered Wednesday morning and said they’ve experienced everything from threats to people coming into their home uninvited.

Now they’re looking for anyone from The Orchard’s management to Mayor Todd Gloria and the City of San Diego to do something about the crime and the homelessness in the area.

Bill McKenzie says he doesn’t sleep much at night, leaving him a front row seat for watching people trespass into their community.

“They’ve stolen bicycles from upstairs off of patios. They had a false sense of security. Put a bike up there and they can’t come and get it,” said McKenzie. “Wrong, they can come and get it.”

Dianne Doering, another neighbor describes her encounter with a person coming to their door.

“My husband told him, ‘Get out of here or I’ll call the police!’ And he told him, ‘Oh go ahead and call the police,'” said Doering.

Susan Gates organized the meeting of residents and said, “We have the homeless demanding to come in and use the bathroom at neighbors’ apartments. We’ve been violated. We’ve had things stolen. We want to know what our choices are.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what the folks living in Orchard Active Senior Apartments say they’re going through.

A few weeks ago, a new homeless encampment arrived right around the time another encampment a little further away from their community was cleaned up.

The neighbors say the clean up just dumped the problem right on their doorsteps. Susan said the people in this encampment refused services for help and now are a bother to her community.

“We know they have refused help because out of 183 only 8 took help. We are begging for help. We don’t feel safe. We want to know what the mayor is going to do to help us feel safe and restore our safety. We call the police, and they say you can’t approach the homeless because they all carry knives. We don’t know what to do.”

Phillip Walker hasn’t been living in the community long but says he’s already noticed the problem.

“As a grown man, pretty built and physically fit, there’s a reason I carry pepper spray and I never had to have none until I moved here,” said Walker. “I had people coming up the steps trying to steal my neighbor’s stuff and I run them out. I had people stealing laundry and ran them out. I chase people out of here on almost a daily basis.”

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