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Homeless people becoming more aggressive in Hillcrest

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Some homeless in Hillcrest are attacking residents and business owners in the community and it’s all due to the relocation efforts and encampment sweepings going on downtown according to ABC 10.

The aggressive behaviors are also being blamed as retaliation from the Hepatitis A outbreak.

Executive Director of the Hillcrest Business Association Benjamin Nicholls told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News the hostility has increased in the district. 

"In the last few weeks, we've seen very aggressive homeless people move into the neighborhood," he said. "I've been attacked, my staff have been attacked and ended up in the hospital.  Business people have been harassed for just running their business.  It's time for a Clean and Safe program in Hillcrest!" 

Decorative rocks are being used as makeshift weapons he says after being targeted by one man on whom he called security.  

"He picked up rocks and was throwing rocks at me," Nicholls told ABC 10 News last week. "Then, he does this thing where he would charge directly at you, he won't actually make contact, but it's very intimidating." 

One of Nicholls' staff members was injured while trying to avoid being hit.

"If you interrupt their panhandling or their camp on the sidewalk they get very aggressive, and they want to retaliate against you or me or whoever is disturbing them," said Nicholls.  

In another report, a Hillcrest restaurant with outdoor seating says their customers have become targets, people stealing from their plates or spitting in their food.

Smashed windows and glued locks have also been a problem.

"In all of those situations, the response we get from the police department is 'There's nothing we can do,"' said Nicholls.  

He fears beautification projects will have to cease. Things such as rocks and landscaping are being destroyed.

Mayor Faulconer just announced on Wednesday the City Operations Yard to be temporarily converted into a camp area for hundreds of unsheltered people. 

“While we work to open more shelters, this transitional camp area will provide hundreds of homeless men and women a safe and clean space as an alternative to living on the sidewalk,” Mayor Faulconer said. “No one should be sleeping in a public place in unsanitary conditions. This site is one more way we’re working to help our most vulnerable and reduce homeless encampments in our neighborhoods. We are cleaning up our city.”

The 136-space Transitional Camp Area – to be located in the parking lot at the City Operations Yard at 20th and B streets – will provide a safe and sanitary space for more than 200 homeless individuals while the City continues sanitation efforts in downtown and other neighborhoods to eradicate the hepatitis A virus.

That camp was opened on Monday.