Homeless encampment near Angel Stadium raises security concerns

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- As the Angels prepare for the regular baseball season at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, they are dealing with some new issues off the field.

"Somebody got on a bulldozer on the property. We have some open fires not far from propane tanks and somebody tried to get into the big A," city spokesperson Mike Lyster said.

The team and city of Anaheim said they're thankful no one was injured in those incidents, but it's raised concerns about stadium security.

An Angels' spokesperson said the goal is to ensure no one gets hurt and to protect the property.

"Our community policing team and our homeless outreach team are now doing additional patrols along the area" Lyster said.

The issue comes on the heels of a homeless encampment moving in along the Angels' fence line. Those who spoke with Eyewitness News said they were frustrated when recently asked to move so the county could stockpile sand and boulders for flood control.

Erik Eckhart, who is homeless, said they were suddenly asked to move and gather their belongings within an hour.

Eckhart said he's out at the encampment by choice. Homeless rights advocates said the county displaced the homeless without a solution.

The city and Orange County said the teams continue to offer services to the homeless, but advocates said there is just not enough space.

"The ultimate solution here is not to continue to deal with the symptoms but to deal with the root problem, which is the lack of affordable housing," said Eve Garrow, an ACLU homeless policy analyst.

The county is scheduled to open a new 100-bed homeless shelter in the city in April, but the ACLU said that is still not enough to accommodate all of the homeless in the community.
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