The number of homeless people around the country is alarming and it keeps rising sharply. Some homeless people have found vacant lots to camp at and others find homeless shelters that are graceful enough to let them in. Some however have found their way into neighborhood or take strolls around neighborhoods and populated (housing) settlements. Making some people very uncomfortable in the process. So what do you do when you see that one (or more) of these homeless people have made their way onto your property? What steps do you take as a private land owner to get a homeless person/ stranger off your property without breaking the law? Let’s take a look.
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Call The Police On The Homeless Person
If there has not been any agreement between you and the homeless person about them being on your property then the first and best option is to call the police immediately. It is considered as trespassing if someone is on your property without your consent and you should never try to engage with a trespassing stranger. You are better off calling the police to solve this issue for you because they are often much more better equipped than you will ever be. The homeless person can start a riot and it can become a very violent scene if you try and confront them yourself. In another light you may hurt the homeless person which would become an immediate dilemma. That is why calling the authorities is the best option for you. The police are trained to deal with unstable (if it just so happens that the trespassing homeless person is unstable) people and are also equipped with the proper tools to defend themselves (you may not, even if you do it is not advised.)
Maintain A Safe Distance From The Homeless Person
Not all homeless people are mentally unstable, some are just people who happen to not have a roof over their heads. However you are best advised to keep a safe distance from any homeless person that may be on your property. Even after you have called the police, you do not need to engage with the homeless person. Let the police handle the situation on their own. And hopefully the homeless person will be removed from your property before you know it.
Do Not Offer The Homeless Person Any Nourishment
We all would like to do some good for someone especially the ones in need, but you would be better off not offering the homeless person any food or water because it might encourage them to stay on your property for longer. Homeless people just like any other group of people can take advantage of your kindness and exploit it for more. If you would like to help those in need, reach out to local charities, missionaries, food banks and social service organizations. If you let your guard down on a trespasser, you may soon regret it. If a homeless person is soliciting you for food on your property it is considered a crime.
Homelessness Is Not A Crime. But Loitering Is
When someone is loitering they are said to be standing about without any aim or purpose, this tends to make other people uncomfortable that is why it is against the law in most places. It becomes worse when a person is loitering on your private property, this might be seen as some type of plotting for a crime that may be committed on the property or on the people within the property. But there’s a catch here, loitering is only a crime if the property on which the accused is standing idly on has signage written “No Loitering” or “No Trespassing” on it (or another similar message.) Failure to comply with this clear message on somebody’s private property will land a homeless person in jail.
- It is not just the crime of loitering that a homeless person may do. They may urinate, vandalize, stalk, and many other things that are considered serious crimes to do on somebody’s private property. Report the homeless person accordingly and present the evidence. Do not falsely accuse the homeless person.
Lock Your Trash Dumpsters
If a homeless person is on your property they’ve most likely been there before maybe whilst you were away or maybe unaware. They’re probably looking for someone they left or have found once before on your property. The first thing that comes to mind (because it is usually located outside of your house but on your property) is a trash bin or dumpster. Be sure to lock yours up when you’re away for the day or during the night when you’re asleep. If a homeless person is on your private property, they might be thinking there’s nobody around.
More Ways Of Keeping A Homeless Person Off Your Property
- If you have any outside storage sheds on your property, be sure to secure them with lock and key. Because the homeless person may be using them as shelter or storage units for their things.
- Keep your gate(s) locked if no one is coming in or out of your yard. If you do not have a fence or some sort of enclosure around your property then you need to ask for a quote to get one. Because people (homeless or otherwise) are more likely to trespass on your property if there are no clear boundaries. If there’s a clear boundary, the homeless person will know not to cross over in someone else’s property.
Homelessness is an extremely troubling social problem that affects all the people involved, that’s to say it is not just the community that is affected by the homeless but the state and on occasion the whole country at large. The above methods are not meant to be hateful towards homeless people, they instead put you in a position of least harm and responsibility if anything goes wrong. In which case it might terribly go wrong. So be cautious when dealing with homeless people, but be kind as well, because once again being homeless is not a crime (although it may cause the people to commit crimes themselves.)