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INSTRUCTIONS: The exam is worth 200 points (100 points for each question). Answer both questions. each question is about 2 pages. All responses should be double spaced, in 12 point Times or Cambria font with one inch margins. Number your answers and compile them into one document. There is no need to reproduce the question at the top of the page—this will take up space you could use for your answer.Use your own words to explain the different concepts and arguments you reference from authors or other materials that you cite in support of your answers. Avoid direct quotations from readings, lectures and lecture slides. No reference list is needed if you only refer to materials from class or the articles/information below, but make sure you provide in-text citations as appropriate. You may refer to the articles as “article 1”, “article 2”, etc. for each question. 1) For question 1, please read and reference these articles:“Lives are in Danger: Lawsuit argues SF Needs to Clean up the Tenderloin as Coronavirus Spreads” by Bob Egelko, SF Chronicle. May 5, 2020. (Links to an external site.)“Someone Will Contract the Virus Here: Meet Homeless Californians Trying to Survive a Pandemic” by Byrhonda Lyons, Cal Matters. April 30, 2020. (Links to an external site.)Explain what a discourse is in your own words, and then describe the different discourses of homelessness Gowan describes in Hobos, Hustlers and Backsliders. Be sure to say which locations and actors are associated with the different discourses she describes and the circumstances in which each is used. The describe Herring’s argument about “complaint oriented policing”. Finally, discuss whether and how the articles above fit into any of the a) discourses you’ve described, and b) Gowan and Herring’s arguments about how city governments manage homelessness and why.2) For question 2, please read (or listen) to the following short radio piece and explore the City of Oakland’s Ceasefire program website. (Links to an external site.) (2014)City of Oakland’s Ceasefire Strategy, (Links to an external site.)The neighborhood surrounding Castlemont High School, in east Oakland, has had a reputation for high levels of violence for some time. Drawing on arguments from Anderson in Code of the Street, Harding in Living the Drama, and Martinez in The Neighborhood Has is Own Rules, what could explain why violence is so prevalent in this area? Based on the radio piece and description of the Ceasefire program, what similarities and/or differences do you note between the neighborhoods and violence described in the readings (Anderson, Harding and Martinez) and in the Castlemont neighborhood in Oakland? What connections can you make between the Ceasefire program strategy for violence reduction and the readings?





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ASRXXX10.1177/0003122419872671American Sociological ReviewHerring
Complaint-Oriented Policing:
Regulating Homelessness in
Public Space
American Sociological Review
© American Sociological
Association 2019
Chris Herringa
Over the past 30 years, cities across the United States have adopted quality-of-life ordinances
aimed at policing social marginality. Scholars have documented zero-tolerance policing and
emerging tactics of therapeutic policing in these efforts, but little attention has been paid to
911 calls and forms of third-party policing in governing public space and the poor. Drawing
on an analysis of 3.9 million 911 and 311 call records and participant observation alongside
police officers, social workers, and homeless men and women residing on the streets of
San Francisco, this article elaborates a model of “complaint-oriented policing” to explain
additional causes and consequences of policing visible poverty. Situating the police within a
broader bureaucratic field of poverty governance, I demonstrate how policing aimed at the poor
can be initiated by callers, organizations, and government agencies, and how police officers
manage these complaints in collaboration and conflict with health, welfare, and sanitation
agencies. Expanding the conception of the criminalization of poverty, which is often centered
on incarceration or arrest, the study reveals previously unforeseen consequences of movealong orders, citations, and threats that dispossess the poor of property, create barriers to
services and jobs, and increase vulnerability to violence and crime.
policing, homelessness, poverty governance, urban sociology, social control
It’s 6am and officers Rodriguez and Sharkey are beginning their morning shift from
San Francisco’s Mission Police Station.
“Alright, let’s see where we’re off to this
morning,” Rodriguez says, switching on the
patrol car’s dashboard. The screen wedged
between the passenger and driver’s seat
lights up a list of 36 calls listing the time, a
numeric code delineating the type of call,
and a street address. “Hey, not so bad! It’s
still early though.” Of the calls on the
screen, twenty-one are coded 915, or what is
officially called “homeless complaints.” If
the 911 dispatcher receiving the call concludes that the reported violation covers one
of the city’s 24 anti-homeless laws and does
not involve a more serious crime, or a nuisance violation involving a housed person,
they dispatch the call as a homeless
Officers Rodriguez and Sharkey respond to
the calls in the order received. Driving to the
first call, a mere five minutes from the station, we pass eleven tents and several more
bodies laid out on cardboard, piles of blankets, and the hard-damp concrete, all violating the exact same ordinance we’re chasing
after, “illegal lodging.” We pull up to a
University of California-Berkeley
Corresponding Author:
Chris Herring, University of California-Berkeley,
410 Barrows Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720
single tent, tied between two large pillars of
the 101 highway overpass across from a
24-hour Fitness club. “They always call”
referring to the club, “And of course he’s
back!” Rodriguez explains, “There was a
big sweep last week on the other side of the
thoroughfare by Southern,” referring to the
eviction of an encampment carried out by
the adjacent police precinct from where this
person had migrated.
Rodriguez parks the car, both get out, and
Sharkey takes out his baton to tap on the
tent pole as if knocking on a door. TAP TAP
TAP TAP TAP, “Good Morning. SFPD. Can
you pop your head out for a minute?” The
fly unzips and a tired face emerges, unfazed.
“Hi good morning sir, how are you doing?”
Sharkey asks. “Good, thanks,” the man
calmly replies. Sharkey continues, “So I
guess someone called this morning and
complained about lodging here. So, I guess
you set up here last night?” The man nods.
“You know business is getting started and
would be great if you could just you know
move-along, otherwise they’re going to just
call again, and we’re gonna have to
respond.” Without resistance or attitude the
man replies, “Yeah ok, I’ll get moving.”
Rodriguez and Sharkey return to the car,
clear the run, and drive on to their next call.
Already two more homeless complaints
have hit the dashboard since arriving at this
one. Over the next three hours, the two officers clear ten homeless complaint calls,
three of which they simply drove by as the
person had moved on by the time we
responded. Except for one, a man who
refused to move-on and took a citation for
blocking a sidewalk, the others followed the
same course as the first; the officers
explained someone had called to complain
and the person residing on the sidewalk,
vacant lot, or park agreed to move-along.
As we pulled back into the station for lunch,
I ask the officers how they thought the
morning went. Sharkey admitted, “Look
we’re not really solving anybody’s problem.
This is a big game of whack-a-mole. I’ll
clear one run, get a person to move, but by
doing that I’m just creating another call,
right? If we arrested a guy, we’d never clear
American Sociological Review 00(0)
these calls, and when we cite them, they
won’t be able to pay and they’ll just be out
here longer and less willing to cooperate.”
Rodriguez, grasping for some sense of
redemption. “Look, I get it if you’re paying
two million dollars for a house and how
much are you paying for property taxes, and
then you have to walk past this guy that’s
taking a crap right in front of your house, or
you’re walking with your kid and you see
someone shooting up in the middle of the
street or peeing or knocked out, like you
don’t want your kid seeing that. So we get
why people call, because it’s a quality-oflife issue for them. . . . But then our end, it’s
like where are they supposed to go? The
shelters are full. What are we supposed to
do with them?” (fieldnote, May 2016)
Over the past 30 years, police forces across
the United States have adopted forms of qualityof-life policing as a renewed commitment to
addressing order maintenance as a policing
priority and an instrumental crime-control
strategy (Harcourt 2009; Kelling and Coles
1997; Kohler-Hausmann 2018). Central to
these efforts have been the passage of local
ordinances aimed at curbing visible poverty,
“anti-social behavior,” and homelessness
(Beckett and Herbert 2009; Vitale 2008).
These laws are currently spreading at an
unprecedented rate in the United States
(NLCHP 2017) and increasingly across the
globe (Fernandez Evangelista 2013). The
National Law Center on Homelessness and
Poverty (NLCHP 2017) found that over half
of the 187 U.S. cities in its study banned
camping, sitting, and lying in public, and over
two-thirds had bans on loitering and begging
in particular places. Between 2006 and 2016,
bans on sitting and lying increased by 52 percent, citywide camping bans by 69 percent,
prohibitions on loitering and loafing citywide
by 88 percent, and bans on living in vehicles
rose 143 percent, the fastest increases of such
ordinances in U.S. history. Recent statewide
studies by legal scholars show that most cities
have multiple ordinances on the books
(Adcock et al. 2016; Frankel, Katovich, and
Vedvig 2016; Marek and Sawicki 2017; Olson,
MacDonald, and Rankin 2015). For instance,
California cities have an average of nine antihomeless laws—Los Angeles and San Francisco have 21 and 24, respectively (Fisher
et al. 2015). Each law taken on its own may
seem limited in its strictures on targeted
behaviors, but collectively, they effectively
criminalize homelessness and in doing so create an impossible situation for policing.
Legal scholars have tracked the spread of
these laws, but we know little about their onthe-ground implementation and effects. The
existing scholarship presents two general
characterizations of policing marginality
(Herbert, Beckett, and Stuart 2017): “aggressive patrol,” which leverages citations and
arrests to curb low-level criminality and is
guided by quotas or directives from police
command (Beckett and Herbert 2009; Mitchell
1997; Moskos 2008), and “therapeutic policing” (Stuart 2016), which combines the stick
of legal punishment with the carrot of rehabilitative services. In therapeutic policing,
officers utilize discretionary enforcement to
compel wayward citizens toward self-reform
(see also Johnsen and Fitzpatrick 2010). Missing from these accounts, however, is an assessment of the role of complaints through 911,
the primary trigger for police response in U.S.
cities, and other means of third-party policing
(Desmond and Valdez 2012; Garland 2001).
As illustrated in the opening vignette, complaints that result in dispatches create a unique
set of dilemmas, dynamics, and outcomes
between the police and the policed, as well as
between residents and business owners calling
for policing. Third-party policing is of growing importance; in San Francisco, for example, the unsheltered homeless population grew
less than 1 percent between 2013 and 2017
(Applied Survey Research 2017), yet 911
police dispatches for “homeless concerns”
increased by 72 percent over the same period.
Although police command and officer discretion remain key aspects of policing marginality, this article addresses the empirical gaps by
elaborating an additional approach I call
complaint-oriented policing.
I evaluate the sources, enforcement, and
effects of complaint-oriented policing in three
steps. Through an analysis of nearly four million 911 and 311 records and a variety of ethnographic observations, I first argue that “homeless
crises” are produced not only by increased
homelessness but also by a crisis of complaints.
Rather than finding a command-control system
of orders and quotas or an enforcement primarily driven by officer discretion, I identify various ways the policing of poverty is a product of
third-party complaints. Next, I explain how
police officers resolve these complaints in conflict and collaboration with a host of other
street-level bureaucrats through a process of
burden shuffling (Seim 2017). Rather than locking up petty criminals (aggressive patrol) or
pushing people into services (therapeutic policing), officers resolve complaints by displacing
them spatially, temporally, or bureaucratically—
forcing homeless people into new spaces or
reclassifying the “homeless problem” as an
issue for another agency or institution. Finally, I
consider the impact of these policing practices
on the survival and subjectivities of homeless
individuals. I illustrate how frequent and continual policing through move-along orders and
citations amounts to a pervasive penality that
deepens poverty and suffering, as well as how
homeless campers resist and adapt to this form
of policing to secure their survival. Building on
work that reveals how the ubiquitous policing of
marginal groups has detrimental effects beyond
incarceration (Desmond and Valdez 2012; Goffman 2014; Rios 2011), I uncover novel mechanisms through which the marginalized are
further criminalized on account of their housing
and shelter status. Through police interactions
that fall short of arrest, move-along orders and
citations collectively work to dispossess the
poor of their property; create barriers to accessing services, housing, and jobs; and increase
vulnerability to violence and crime by stressing
the already tenuous social ties between individuals residing in public space.
Policing Extreme
Poverty In The City
Two general accounts currently exist in the
scholarship on policing social marginality
(see Herbert et al. 2017).1 A number of scholars have characterized quality-of-life ordinances and their associated policing as
cornerstones of the carceral city (Davis 2006)
and urban revanchism (Smith 1996), which
aims to purify the streets and sidewalks of
visible poverty for businesses, tourists, and
wealthier residents under the banner of
reclaiming public space for bourgeois consumption (Mitchell 1997). Absent a welfare
response, cities have adopted a policing
approach of “aggressive patrol” to hide the
social problem of homelessness through banishment (Beckett and Herbert 2009). Underlying this policing philosophy are variants of
broken windows policing (Kelling and Wilson
1982), packaged as “order maintenance,”
“quality-of-life policing,” “zero tolerance,” or
“stop and frisk.” These methods are grounded
in a faith in deterrence to curb low-level criminality or as aesthetic interventions designed to
signal order and police presence to criminals.
Most often, these initiatives are depicted as
top-down, command-and-control policing
“campaigns,” engineered and directed by
police chiefs seeking arrest and citation quotas, most famously by Police Chief William
Bratton under the command of then-Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani in New York City during the
early 1990s (see Harcourt 2009; Vitale 2008;
Wacquant 1999). For a range of scholars, the
recent intensification of anti-homeless laws
reflects a “punitive turn” (Garland 2001; Wacquant 2009) in the criminal justice system,
under which any previously-existing impulses
to rehabilitate and reintegrate criminals has
been supplanted by more aggressive and intolerant aims of exclusion.
More recently, a critique of the assumption
that policing poverty is uniformly hostile, punitive, and exclusionary has emerged (see DeVerteuil, May, and von Mahs 2009). In his
ethnography of policing LA’s Skid Row, Stuart
(2016) presents an alternative policing approach
toward these ordinances, which he terms “therapeutic policing.” Rather than rote retribution,
strong-armed rehabilitation through coercive
benevolence was the underlying philosophy of
policing in Skid Row. In contrast to commandcontrol directives, officers use discretionary
American Sociological Review 00(0)
enforcement through the threat of arrest and
citation to try to compel individuals to avail
themselves of various social services that might
alleviate their poverty or reduce their dependence on controlled substances (see also Johnsen
and Fitzpatrick 2010). According to this set of
scholars, policing is not solely in service of
business elites, tourists, and residents, but
rather aims at “fixing” the down and out themselves. This model of therapeutic policing fits
into a broader set of studies within the poverty
governance literature that challenges, or at least
complicates, the one-sided rise of a new punitiveness. This includes studies that have drawn
attention to the growth of shelters, targeted
social services, and housing for the homeless
over this same period of increased policing
(Cloke, May, and Johnsen 2010; DeVerteuil
2006; von Mahs 2013), as well as research that
analyzes how welfare institutions are becoming
increasingly punitive and punitive institutions
are increasingly filtering welfare services (e.g.,
Comfort 2007; Garland 2001; Soss, Fording,
and Schram 2011).
However, the police interaction described
in the opening vignette problematizes descriptions of both aggressive and therapeutic policing, the key elements of which I outline in
Figure 1. For one, the immediate source of
the interaction was not an order from SFPD
commanders, as often depicted in accounts of
aggressive patrol, nor did it hinge on officers’
discretion, as would be the case in therapeutic
policing. Second, the sanction of a movealong order did not result in a formal citation
or repeated arrests, which one might expect
under aggressive patrol, nor was there even
the slightest pretense of an outcome that
would lead to services or some protection for
the homeless camper, as in therapeutic policing. Finally, the role of the officer deviated
widely from that of “rabble managers” containing the riff-raff, pushing people into and
out of jail, and mitigating violence between
homeless people (Bittner 1967; Irwin 1985),
or that of “recovery managers” (Stuart 2016),
shepherding homeless people into rehabilitative programs to ameliorate individual pathologies. Instead, the modal policing process in
my observations of hundreds of interactions
Figure 1. Policing Social Marginality: Contrasting Approaches
Note: Adapted from Herbert, Beckett, and Stuart 2017.
between officers and homeless individuals (1)
was initiated by complaints outside the police
force, (2) relied on punitive interactions that
most often fell short of arrest and did not
involve services, and (3) was aimed at neutralizing the complaint through incapacitation
and invisibilization.
During my fieldwork, I certainly witnessed
brutal instances of assertive punishment, as
well as acts of coercive benevolence by officers toward the unhoused, that reflected
approaches of aggressive patrol and therapeutic policing. However, neither paradigm captures the far more common logics and
practices of policing homelessness that I call
complaint-oriented policing. Call-driven
reactive policing has been discussed in the
policing literature since the 1970s, but little
sociological research exists on its role in
quality-of-life policing, which is typically
portrayed as a proactive method concerning
how officers manage the everyday onslaught
of calls, and the effect of this policing on the
most marginalized.
This article traces the sources, enforcement, and impact of complaint-oriented policing, and in the process draws on and
contributes to three broader sets of literatures
on urbanization, poverty governance, and
criminalization. First, my analysis of the drivers of complaint-oriented policing builds on
debates of urban change and urban government as it relates to policing. Emerging from
a series of case studies of New York City
(Laniyonu 2018; Vitale 2008), Seattle (Gibson
2004), and Los Angeles (Davis 2006), and
explicitly articulated as a hypothesis by Sharp
(2014), the postindustrial policing hypothesis
argues that intensified policing stems from
processes of gentrification. Understudied and
undertheorized in this literature is the role of
911 and 311 calls, as well as organizations
such as resident associations and Business
Improvement Districts that engage in thirdparty policing. According to Garland
(2001:170), third-party policing, composed of
“a third governmental sector . . . positioned
between the state and civil society, connecting
the criminal justice agencies with activities of
citizens, communities and corporations,” represents “the most significant development of
the crime control field” and yet has been
largely unstudied by sociologists (see Desmond and Valdez 2012). I present one of the
first empirical analyses of large-scale 311 and
911 administrative records, as recently called
for by O’Brien, Sampson, and Winship
I do not analyze the direct role of gentrification or attempt to adjudicate between the
underlying causes of complaint-oriented
policing; rather, I identify the structural and
organizational pressures placed on the police
to manage marginality that extend beyond the
field of criminal justice and how they manifest in police interactions. Following others
who analyze policing as a public institution
responding to community-based actors (Huey
2007; Vitale 2008), I place police within the
dynamics of urban change and the broader
field of urban governance to demonstrate how
changes in business and resident organizations, other city agencies, new technologies
such as 311, and political struggles all ratchet
up the policing of social marginality, while
homelessness and policing protocols remain
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