SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A public Sacramento street was blocked by barricades, a moving van, and a 24-hour security guard. It’s a new tactic being used by a business along Railroad Drive to drive out homeless campers.
Rich Eaton owns a warehouse along the dead-end industrial street and put the blockade in place.READ MORE: WATCH: 5-Year-Old Manteca T-Ball Player's Walk-Up Dance Goes Viral On TikTok
“We’re not stopping anything but the nefarious,” he said. “The nefarious people who are coming here to commit crimes, that is why we’re here.”
Two months ago the street was filled with RVs, tents and trailers lining the block. Homeless camped there all hours of the day despite city rules banning overnight parking, and businesses say crimes like theft, drugs, and prostitution were out of control.
“We used to go home every night worrying about our stuff being stolen,” said Justin Funkhouser, who works on the street.
“Literally every day, there was a stolen vehicle that was left here chopped up,” said John Rippey, who owns a business on the street.
“The city refuses to do any enforcement on Railroad Drive so it’s a free zone. The criminal knows it,” Eaton said.
The city swept campers from the area a few weeks ago. Now, with the barricade in place, the homeless have not returned.READ MORE: 'We Have To Do Something': Assembly Passes Bill That Would Allow California Parents To Sue For Social Media Addiction
“It’s gotten really really nice,” Rippey said.
But the city says Eaton’s plan is illegal. Code enforcement officers came out and told him to remove orange barricades that had been blocking the street.
After city officials left, a large moving van and a trailer were parked there, effectively closing down the street once again. Homeless who had previously slept there say it’s unfair for private businesses to close down a public street.
“The guy told me I couldn’t go down the street unless I had official business,” Renell Parker said.
Eaton, who has also filed a lawsuit against the city, said this type of action is needed until the homeless crisis is solved.
“Maybe I’m starting a trend, maybe some more people ought to do this and they’ll get the hint that enough is enough,” he said.MORE NEWS: Quail Fire In Vacaville Now 100% Contained
The city said a citation will be issued if the street continues to be blocked.