The violent crime rate in San Antonio is down sharply, and the police chief is revealing a creative new strategy which has made San Antonio a national model in dealing with the problem of homeless people standing on street corners and harassing passersby, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"So far this year, year to date, our uniform crimes are down 19%," Police Chief William McManus told the San Antonio Tourism Council. "That is really amazing."
McManus said that is compared with 2017 figures, where were in themselves down 7% from 2016.
There is nothing that will damage a thriving tourism industry more than homeless people lurking around hotels and attractions. San Francisco says its visitor industry as seen sharp declines due to the huge influx of homeless people, driven largely by huge increases in the price of housing.
McManus says the city's homeless problem is less than nearly every major city in the country, and other cities are coming to San Antonio to adopt a program he and his command staff started earlier this year.
He says in addition to special units designed to steer homeless people to the Haven for Hope and other resources, there is a unit dedicated to helping homeless people recovery their identification.
"Most of the homeless folks you see on the street don't have i.d.'s," McManus said. "They don't know how to recover their i.d. They don't know how to get an i.d. or recovery an i.d. or a birth certificate."
He said it is impossible to do anything in today's society without an identification, including getting a job, renting a home, opening a bank account, and everything else that needs to be done for homeless person to recover.
"In 87% of the cases where we are able to help people recover their i.d, they are off the street, back into housing, and into jobs."