SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It was tough for Joseph Smith, of Loaves and Fished Sacramento, when he heard of another potential death of a homeless person.
Sacramento police are investigating the death of a woman found Saturday afternoon on the American River Bike Trail near mile marker 3 who they say had visible injuries likely from an assault. Investigators believe she was staying at an encampment in the area.READ MORE: 'He Gives Me Everything To Be': Therapy Dog For Woman In Wheelchair Now Needs Wheelchair Of His Own
“Heart breaks again,” Smith said.
It’s another tough break in a year that Smith said has been tough for the homeless community.
“Particularly women this year, there seems to be a rise in violence against women experiencing homelessness and passing away,” Smith said.
William Earl Hopkins is a man living at the City of Sacramento Safe Ground Zone in downtown Sacramento. The woman’s death comes not long after the City of Sacramento began creating the safe ground zones for the homeless – a place where people like Hopkins feel safe lying their heads at night.READ MORE: Quake Near Truckee: Why Some Got Shake Alerts And Others Didn't
“You’re not going to get hurt. You’re not going to get murdered. You know what I mean? You’re going to have, what, a free tent you can lay in,” Hopkins said. “They got security securing the area; making sure everyone is safe.”
Smith thinks other homeless may want that sense of security hearing after that one of their own is believed to have been killed on the bike trail. He and Hopkins feel getting people to these sites may be easier said than done, even after this tragedy on the trail.
“I think they need to get more of these sites online in locations close by where people are already at. And, people will be more likely to come to those places and bring others with them,” Smith said.
“Everybody tries to help a lot of people. But, you can’t help everybody if they don’t want help, you know?” Hopkins said.
Smith said the endgame solution to making sure these incidents involving possible homeless victims is to have more affordable housing.MORE NEWS: Sacramento Police Officer Justin Shepard Arrested For Alleged Domestic Violence Incident
He told CBS13 that, “four walls, a roof and doors that lock,” are the best way to address the problem.