• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 13s

Police work to disperse camps, connect homeless to services

By KTVA Alaska 7:24 AM May 9, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

They can be dangerous and dirty, but for too many in Anchorage, homeless camps are the only option.

A day after municipal leaders praised their progress with a 10-year plan to reduce Anchorage’s homeless population, the Anchorage Police Department’s Community Action Policing team offered an inside look at the work that still needs to be done.

As the weather in Anchorage warms up, police said more and more homeless camps are popping up.

“This is a wildlife area, this is a green belt and they’re leaving garbage and fecal matter in the area and it’s just not good for our land,” said senior officer Will Cameron.

Cameron, along with senior officer Nathan Mitchell is a member of the CAP team -  a group of just 4 officers tasked with taking down all of the homeless camps in Anchorage, one tent or teepee at a time.

“Instead of coming out and being the big bad cops arresting people, we try to come out and connect them with resources to see if they can help themselves,” Cameron said.

But telling people with little to lose that they need to pack up what they have and move isn’t always a walk in the park.

“It’s dangerous, even for the police to come in,” Cameron said. “We don’t like contacting people that have knives and hatchets and axes.”

Aside from items that could be used as weapons, another serious concern is open burning. Mitchell said that was made apparent Thursday by a pile of smoldering ashes sitting just a few feet away from an area in the woods that burned down due to an open burn at another homeless camp.

“This stuff lights up and burns real quick,” Cameron said. “The next thing you know, you’ve got a forest fire going on.”

The CAP team said the municipality’s 10-year plan to end homelessness, now in its ninth year, has been working.

“There were a lot more than there is now, I would say probably a couple hundred camps,” Cameron said. “Now, I would say there are 20-25 hardcore groups of people that just don’t want to change.”

But they said more must be done to address Anchorage’s homeless population.

“We all have to work together on this program and this problem to find a solution and a resource,” Cameron said.

Until that happens, officers said they’ll continue combing Anchorage’s woods in search of the souls they said have fallen — hard — through the cracks.

Officers said it is never a good idea for the public to approach a homeless camp. Instead, they said people should take down the location and details of a camp and alert police.

Latest Stories

  • Crime

    Soldotna woman with 3 kids in car arrested for DUI

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 21, 18:13

    A woman is in custody after she was pulled over Saturday night on the Kenai Spur Highway for driving impaired with children in the vehicle. At about 9 p.m., the Alaska Bureau of Highway Patrol responded to a REDDI report of “an intoxicated motorist with children in the car,” according to an online AST dispatch posted […]

  • Crime

    1 injured in downtown Anchorage shooting near PlayHouse bar

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 21, 13:49

    One person was injured in a shooting in downtown Anchorage early Sunday morning. At about 2:15 a.m., officers were called to a shooting in the area of 420 W. Third Ave., according to a statement from the Anchorage Police Department. The incident occurred near the PlayHouse bar, “which is formerly the old Millennium Club,” according to APD […]

  • News

    2 vehicles sink on Chena River ice stretch

    by Associated Press on Dec 21, 13:06

    At least two vehicles recently sank into the Chena River on a section long used as an ice-covered shortcut between Airport Way and Chena Small Tracts Road. Bob Weaver, the owner of Ron’s Towing, said a rented SUV driven by an out-of-state motorist sank Dec. 15 after making a left turn onto the river from […]

  • Sports

    Iditarod Trail Committee names Philip Esai 2015 Honorary Musher

    by KTVA Sports on Dec 21, 12:41

    The Iditarod Trail Committee has bestowed an honor on one of its most dedicated volunteers. Philip Esai, who passed away earlier this year, has been named the 2015 Honorary Musher. Each year, the committee honors one or more people who have made a significant contribution to the sport of sled dog racing. Esai and his […]

  • Crime

    2 arrested in connection with $30K stolen from Alaska fish hatchery

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 20, 18:39

    Two Palmer men are in custody in connection with a burglary that occurred at an Alaskan fish hatchery last month. On Nov. 8, Alaska State Troopers were notified that $30,000 worth of steel, aluminum and copper had been stolen from the Eklutna Tailrace fish hatchery. The suspects also caused approximately $30,000 worth of damage by “cutting through walls […]

  • News

    Last call to get Christmas gifts in the mail

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 20, 17:07

    The Saturday before Christmas is one of the busiest mailing days of the year — and for good reason. If gifters want to make sure their cards, presents and parcels arrive by Dec. 25, the deadline to send mail first-class or priority is today. “With our transportation network that we have, a lot of our priority […]

  • News

    Anchorage libraries get new self-checkout machines

    by Sierra Starks, Shannon Ballard on Dec 20, 16:24

    Anchorage Public Library is unveiling a new addition to its branch locations. Libraries around Anchorage debuted new self-service checkout machines last week. Z. J. Loussac Public Library launched their new machines Friday. On Saturday, library-goers could be seen testing out the touchscreen feature, returning books and DVDs and checking their account balances. Stacia McGourty, a reference and […]

  • News

    Man fatally struck, trapped under vehicle near downtown Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 20, 14:58

    A man is dead after a pedestrian-involved crash near downtown Anchorage that occurred early Saturday morning. At around 2:30 a.m., police and medics responded to the collision near the 1400 block of 12th Avenue. The 911 caller stated that a man delivering newspapers had struck a pedestrian, according to a statement from the Anchorage Police Department. […]