Florist worries new policy on criminal trespassing could make businesses crime targets

County policy decriminalizes non-residential trespassing for homeless

By Deven Clarke - Crime and Justice Reporter, Luis Cienfuegos - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - The owner of a Southtown floral shop doesn't agree with a new county policy that rejects charges for homeless people who criminally trespass into businesses.

A Dreamweaver Florist owner Terry Martin called the policy unfair and an invitation to commit a crime.

“If you do something against the law, you need to be held accountable for it,” Martin said.

He said that in the 20 years he has owned his business, he's never had a problem with homeless people trespassing before. Now, he's worried the new policy could change that.

“We work hard, and we don't want anybody to come in and take advantage of that,” Martin said.

Martin, however, is sympathetic to the fact that some people who commit low level crimes don't have the money for bail, but he thinks that's still no reason to let them off the hook. Furthermore, he believes that shouldn't be his problem.

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“There should be some type of program to help the ones that can’t get out. It costs us more to house them and keep them for two or three days, or two or three weeks, than it does to post a $50 bail,” Martin said.

Other business owners KSAT spoke with agree with Martin's perspective but feel speaking out on the issues will only create more problems and make them a target. For those out there who may consider the new policy a free pass to trespass, Martin has a warning.

“Don’t come here!” Martin exclaimed.

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