Behavior: Harassing the Homeless

Growing numbers of street people bring a backlash

In New York City's Greenwich Village this winter, odd-shaped metal boxes and barbed wire were placed across hot-air exhaust grates to keep homeless people from sleeping in the neighborhood. A center helping the homeless in downtown San Diego burned in a fire classified as arson. And in Santa Cruz, Calif., where vagrants are called trolls, the police brass felt it necessary to warn their officers not to wear TROLL BUSTER T shirts while off duty.

As the number of street people grows, so does the backlash, raising disturbing questions about hostility to the poor and the use of the homeless as...

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