1. REPORT all issues
If you see any problem - whether it is a new camp, trash, human waste, needles, a suspicious vehicle (it may be a drug dealer), etc.... Do not hesitate in contacting the City of Sacramento.
You can report a problem on the City's website at http://311.cityofsacramento.org/s/new-service or by calling 3-1-1.
Also, take pictures and upload them on social media services such as NextDoor. Your eyes, your ears, and your help are desperately needed. Please pay close attention to the area near the Children's Receiving Home. These at-risk children are in the most danger.
2. DO NOT give money to panhandlers
Homeless will often beg for money at the intersections of busy streets or at the entrances of buildings. Unfortunately, this money, rather than being spent on food, is often used to purchase drugs and alcohol.
If a panhandling spot becomes profitable (and, thus, coveted) it can quickly lead to violence over who "controls" the spot. Sadly, by giving the homeless money, you can perpetuate the endless cycle of homelessness, addiction, violence, and death.
There are real solutions; but the City of Sacramento refuses to consider them.
3. DO NOT put garbage bins out at night
Homeless are often drawn into an area where they can take materials out of trash cans and recycle bins. Often, they will dump any contents, they don't want, on the street. To minimize the threat, don't put your garbage or recycling bins out until the morning - right before you leave for work.
Also, do not put the following items in your bins:
4. DO NOT go barefoot outside
You could step on a discarded needle and expose yourself to HIV or Hepatitis-C. If you do step on a needle:
Do not allow children to go outside without shoes. If you take your kid to the park, first look around for any needles before letting them play.
5. DO NOT keep hoses in your front yard
Homeless will often bath in your front yard - either at night or in broad daylight. Few have any problem with public nudity. They may also use this opportunity to clean out their human waste containers.
A single, accessible, water faucet is enough to cause a homeless camp to form.
You might want to invest in a water faucet lock. They are easy to use and only cost about $14.
Alternatively, you can remove the handle from the faucet using a screwdriver (if the model, you have, allows). Make sure not to lose the screw. It is recommended that you place the handle and screw into a zip-lock bag.
6. DO NOT store valuables in plain site
It doesn't matter if your car is locked. Homeless will often break windows to steal contents.
Remember: anything that can be taken, will be taken. So, any valuables in your front yard (or even your back yard - if you don't have a locked gate) can and will be stolen.
7. TEACH your children about safety
Talk to children about stranger-danger.
If your child sees any drug paraphernalia (needles, glass pipes, etc...) or a suspicious water bottle, instruct them "don't touch it" and to find an adult immediately.
8. DO NOT leave pets out at night
Some homeless, sadly, suffer from mental illness. The City of Sacramento doesn't provide any services for mental illness at the Auburn homeless shelter. The mentally ill will be left to wander the streets. In their state, they may attack or steal your beloved pets.
Keep your pets indoors at night. If your pet is outgoing and friendly, it would be wise to lock it up whenever you are away.
9. BUY a defensive weapon
Hopefully, this will never happen, but you may be in a situation where you have to defend yourself or your loved ones. In this case, you will need a defensive weapon. There are several options available. It is vital that you have 1 or more of the following:
This is a very simple defensive weapon that can temporarily disable an attacker. You can find pepper spray at any "outdoor" store such as REI, Bass Pro, and Sportsman's Warehouse.
They cost about $10.
Another useful defensive weapon is the combination of a flashlight & a stun gun. In can be operated like a normal flashlight, but, in an emergency, can be put into "stun" mode. This does, however, requires physical contact to work.
They cost between $10 and $20.
The ultimate form of protection is a handgun. A good defensive gun, such as the Smith & Wesson SD series (SD = self defense), will cost around $400.
Handguns can be purchased at stores like the Gun Range on Watt Avenue (near the Wal-Mart). Don't be intimidated. Guns are easy to use and are very safe (if used correctly).