OXNARD POLICE DEPARTMENT
|INCIDENT:||Police, Clergy, and Social Services Workers Partner for Operation at Halaco Site|
|DATE/TIME:||January 12, 2018 @ 6:30 AM|
|PREPARED BY:||Melissa Valdez, Community Affairs Manager|
|CONTACT PERSON AND CONTACT INFO:||Melissa Valdez, Community Affairs Manager|
At 6:30 AM this morning, members of the Oxnard Police Department’s Neighborhood Policing Team and Traffic Unit led an operation at the Halaco site, located at 6200 Perkins Rd. The purpose of the operation was to follow up with the inhabitants that were previously served a “notice to vacate” on October 19, 2017. The original notices provided direction to vacate the area by December 5, 2017. However, this date was extended to coincide with the opening of Ventura County Winter Warming Shelter, which experienced a delay in its opening.
The Police Department partnered with various social service providers and faith-based representatives to provide Halaco’s inhabitants with offers of assistance. Such assistance includes help in their relocation or decision to accept appropriate services. Since mid-2017, members of the Oxnard Police Department, along with social service providers including the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, Ventura County Homeless Services, and City departments have made numerous contacts with inhabitants at Halaco to offer them social services. By the end of November of 2017, ninety-three (93) persons had been contacted on this site and offered services. Ventura County Emergency Medical Services also provided hepatitis vaccinations to approximately thirty-five persons and flu shots for approximately forty (40) persons.
During this morning’s operation, police and service providers contacted forty-eight (48) persons on the site. Six (6) of them indicated willingness to accept social services.
Another significant part of this operation was to notify all persons on the Halaco site that they were trespassing on private property, and they would be subject to arrest as of Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Flyers were distributed and a large sign was posted stating this. All vehicles on the premises were tagged with notices that they would be subject to towing on that date.
With its population of several dozen squatters living there, the Halaco site has placed a disproportionate demand on public safety resources over the past year. The location has been a leading “repeat service call” location, with calls for service ranging from violent crimes, property crimes, gang violence, and drug-related activity. A homicide involving one of its inhabitants occurred in January of 2017, as well as several violent crimes throughout the year. These crimes included two firearm-involved carjackings, one of which involved an Oxnard resident being kidnapped and taken to the site. An employee of a nearby business was assaulted with a knife by a Halaco inhabitant. During the 2017 Thanksgiving Holiday, a man was shot and another was battered with a hammer. Over a dozen stolen vehicles were recovered on the site in 2017, and more in the immediate area. The Fire Department has responded several dozen times to several fires, as well as injured persons and overdoses. Additional incidents with some connection to the Halaco site and/or its residents have also occurred in the surrounding area.
The Halaco site, formerly a recycling facility and currently an EPA superfund location, is not safe to inhabit. The living conditions are unsanitary. Accumulated piles of refuse raise health concerns, and have negative environmental impacts on the adjacent Ormond Beach Wetlands, a nature preserve with protected and endangered species.
To remedy concerns about this site, the City of Oxnard initiated an abatement process for the site in August of 2017. Once abatement work begins later this month, this process will consist of trash cleanup, debris removal, vegetation abatement, and demolition of free-standing concrete walls.
In order for the abatement to begin, all persons and vehicles on the site must vacate the premises. A deadline to vacate has been set for Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Starting on that date, the Police Department will begin enforcement operations at the site. Officers will arrest individuals found on the site, and all vehicles on the premises will be towed.
“Enforcement is most certainly not our preferred option,” said Assistant Police Chief Jason Benites. “We are hoping for compliance and would prefer to not have to arrest a single person, nor tow a single vehicle. The fact remains however, that this is private property currently undergoing an abatement process, and everyone must leave. This is also not a safe place for people to live. We also realize that the subject of homelessness is a difficult one, and we are doing everything that we can to give the Halaco inhabitants reasonable time to leave, as well as present them with numerous opportunities to accept services that are intended to help them address their situations.”
The Oxnard Police Department is working with social service providers and various clergy in an effort to encourage the occupants that it is in their best interests to leave the site voluntarily. We encourage those seeking temporary shelter to visit the West County Winter Warming Shelter located at the Ventura National Guard Armory through March 31, 2018. The shelter opens nightly at 6 PM and provides a hot dinner meal, a place to sleep, showers and breakfast. The shelter is a County collaborative and is available for single occupants and families. For information concerning this, as well as additional services, the public can call “211” or (805) 385-1800.
We would like to remind the public that while the City of Oxnard does not provide any direct homeless services or emergency housing, the City does provide funding to several agencies and non-profit organizations that do provide such services. Below is a list of service agencies and places that provide assistance:
If you are facing homelessness or are already homeless and need emergency housing:
Homelessness Prevention Program
Rapid Re-Housing Program
County of Ventura Human Services Agency
The Kingdom Center
(women and children only)
Turning Point Foundation
(services for homeless with mental illness)
RAIN Project Transitional Living Center
OTHER SERVICES FOR HOMELESS PERSONS
Community Action of Ventura County
Day-time One-Stop Center; mail drop, counseling, job resources, showers
621 Richmond Ave., Oxnard CA 93030
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Housing and utility assistance, health care, employment resources
Assistance hotline: 1-888-552-7872
DATE / TIME PREPARED: January 12, 2018/ 2:00 pm