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Transients move out of downtown Chico, no citations given

By Tyler May, tmay@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jan 06 2014 08:36:17 PM CST
CHICO, Calif. -

One of the hot topics in Chico this past year was the passing of the "Sit-Lie" ordinance allowing officers to cite anyone blocking a city sidewalk or using it as a camp site.
 
So far, they have written zero citations.

A few months ago you would see people camping outside the doors of the stores in downtown.
     
Chico Police urged the city council to approve this ordinance, and they're still seeing people leave the area.

"We haven't seen much of them and it's been really nice," said Mike Peavy, owner of Cyclesport Bikes in Downtown Chico.  "I would come back around 7 or 8 at night, and there would be a whole encampment. They got dogs and they are throwing up right in my doorway."

Peavy said transients would also leave a huge mess behind.
     
"They go through the trash cans and they don't always get it back in," said Peavy.  "So there is stuff that falls around the trash can."

Peavy said he hasn't seen any of that activity in recent weeks.
       
"We looked at it being a message from the City Council and the citizens that this is the direction we wanted to go," said Captain Ford Porter of the Chico Police Department.  "We don't want people sitting and blocking the sidewalks."

Chico police said they have not issued any citations since the ordinance went into effect two months ago.
     
"People automatically realize if that's the direction they are going, I don't want to put myself in a position to get a citation," said Porter.
    
A surprising stat nonetheless, but it's a new trend that business owners are enjoying.
     
"The perception is a good clean place to be, and then people want to be there. The reason why you live in Chico is downtown," said Peavy.

Chico police said most of the transients are starting to make their way into areas where they are not noticed as much around the city, and they will watch them wherever they go.