Public Safety: Orange County Installs Secure Fencing at 24 Sites along Flood Control Channels to Prevent Homeless Encampments

Santa Ana, California – The County of Orange is installing new fencing at 24 sites along flood control channels to keep neighborhoods safe and prevent homeless encampments.
                                                                                                           
Supervisor Andrew Do, Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, worked with city leaders, county staff and law enforcement agencies on the fencing projects in Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Westminster after reports of criminal activity, including a series of fires set by a homeless arsonist.
           
“We have a right to feel safe in our homes and neighborhoods,” said Chairman Do. “This secure fencing will greatly reduce illegal access to the flood control channels and deter homeless encampments in residential neighborhoods."
 
Twenty-four sites in Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Westminster have already been upgraded with more secure fencing at flood control access points. The county will improve more sites in the coming months, including near Fisher Park, a city-owned park where a homeless arsonist set a fire that quickly spread to a nearby home.   
 
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas Prosecuting Serial Arsonist
In July, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas filed multiple felony charges against Gustavo Abarca Garcia for setting seven fires that caused $20,000 in damages to a home adjacent to the creek.

"I wanted to thank Chairman Do and the leadership he’s provided in protecting our communities," stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. "The homeless are often targeted as victims and many of them commit crimes and cause problems in neighborhoods. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office have filed many cases involving the homeless population including a serious arson case."
 
In addition to cases of arson, Orange County residents that live near flood control channels say that the public access channels make easy escape routes for snatch-and-grab thefts.
 
Prop 47, Prop 57 and Prison Realignment Caused Increase in Property Crime
Property crime is on the rise throughout California, following new laws that weakened punishments for theft. According to a June report by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, Proposition 47 has contributed to a nearly double-digit increase in property crimes, such as car burglaries, shoplifting and other thefts.
 
“Sacramento continues to give a free pass to dangerous criminals,” said Supervisor Do. “Here in Orange County, we will continue to invest more resources in keeping our neighborhoods safe.”
 
Residents also report cases of homeless camps in the channels right up against homeowners’ backyard. Supervisor Do credits city leaders for working with the county on the fencing improvement project as a way to prevent future homeless encampments.
 
“I am grateful to Westminster, Garden Grove, and Santa Ana for working with the county on this project,” said Supervisor Do. “Together, we’re taking back our neighborhoods.”