• 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

  • Sports

    Ryne Olson claims win in Copper Basin 300

    by Dave Goldman on Jan 16, 21:09

    If you follow trends, this was a no-brainer. In the past two years, Ryne Olson has taken third and second place at the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race. Like a blue chip, which grows slowly and consistently over time, this one found its highest point yet. Now you can call her a Copper Basin 300 champion. […]

  • Politics

    ‘It’s time to pull together’: Alaskans plan to attend Women’s March on Washington

    by Eric Ruble on Jan 16, 19:36

    The final preparations are underway for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Friday. However, a few hundred thousand people are expected to participate in a separate event happening the next day in the nation’s capital. The purpose of the Women’s March on Washington – according to its organizers – is to send a […]

  • News

    Red Cross volunteers install free smoke detectors for MLK Day

    by Shannon Ballard on Jan 16, 19:09

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day not only honors the life and legacy of the legendary civil rights leader, it also offers opportunities to translate his words into action. On Monday, that sense of volunteerism and community was felt in the South Park Estates trailer park off Arctic Boulevard. A group of about a dozen people with […]

  • News

    City says public can help snow-plowing operation go more smoothly

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jan 16, 18:58

    City crews will be working around the clock to get the latest snow plowed. Anchorage street maintenance director Alan Czajkowski said the plan is to continue to work to clear main roads and then get into local neighborhoods, possibly as early as Monday evening. Czajkowski said there are several things Anchorage residents can do to […]

  • Lifestyle

    Businesses cash in on winter snow storms

    by Heather Hintze on Jan 16, 18:37

    As the flakes kept falling Monday, there was no business like snow business. It was all hands on deck for Alaska Snow Removal (ASR) crews as the inches accumulated. Their first priority was plowing tarmacs at the airport, a job that hasn’t been plentiful the past few winters. “We’ve been sanding quite a bit throughout […]

  • News

    Woman killed in hit-and-run identified by family members

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 16, 18:37

    Family members have identified the woman killed in Saturday’s hit-and-run collision as Anchorage resident Ida Jackson. Anchorage police have not publicly confirmed the victim’s identity. They said in a Nixle alert that she was walking in the roadway along Elmore Road early Saturday morning when a Chevrolet Sonic struck her. She had died from her injuries […]

  • Politics

    Optimism, eagerness among Alaska’s newest legislators

    by Associated Press on Jan 16, 13:52

    Among Alaska’s newest legislators, there is optimism and an eagerness to get to work on addressing the state’s multibillion-dollar budget deficit. Rep.-elect George Rauscher of Sutton says he’s “pretty jazzed” about the legislative session opening Tuesday. Rauscher, who last year upset incumbent Rep. Jim Colver, a fellow Republican, says he anticipates legislators getting something accomplished […]

  • Lifestyle

    Can caffeine perk up heart health, too?

    by Amy Norton / Health Day / CBS on Jan 16, 13:48

    The caffeine in your morning cup of joe may do more than jolt you awake — it may also help dampen the type of inflammation that’s linked to heart disease risk factors, a new study suggests. Researchers found that an inflammatory mechanism was dialed up in certain older adults, but not others. When it was […]