Citing sanitary and other concerns, Waco police began the disassembly of four homeless camps in the New Road and Franklin Avenue area Wednesday morning.
“They’re not in your backyard are they? And they’re not trashing out your backyard or living in your shed and creating the kind of destruction that they are doing to somebody else’s property,” said Sgt. Patrick Swanton with the Waco Police Department.
The Waco Police Department and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office worked together to dismantle at least five homeless camps in Waco.
The camps were in a creek area behind the Franklin Avenue Walmart store.
“We came in about a week prior, we told the people that were living here ‘you are on private property you cannot stay, get your necessities, get your property and vacate the premise’,” said Sgt. Swanton.
In addition to police vehicles, refuse trucks were sent to the area to load up debris from the camps.
“They were going to the restroom in buckets, when a bucket would get full, they’d simply move that bucket to the side, remove the toilet seat off the old bucket and make a new toilet. Those buckets were here, they’ve been dumped over so now you’ve got a large amount of human feces and waste that are on the ground,” said Sgt. Swanton.
Police noted the unsanitary conditions and what was termed the “significant danger” these types of camps pose to the public.
“We’ve already pulled 14 or 15 large bags of trash out of this encampment in the corner and you can’t even tell they’ve been in there yet, we haven’t really put a dent in it,” said Sgt. John Allovio, District Supervisor with the Waco Police Department.
The camps were hidden so well, the department was forced to use a drone to make sure they weren’t missing anything from in between the brush.
“They know where to go and they know how to stay out of sight,” said Carlton Willis, Associate Executive Director of Programs with Mission Waco.
Willis says they have several options for the homeless, if they choose to seek help.
“When you are dealing with homelessness there are two major issues that may be a concern, one is addiction the other is mental illness and so we try to figure out what those are and get them in the proper care and the proper services to receive help for that so they can become self sufficient and self sustained,” said Willis.
To learn more information about the resources Mission Waco offers, click HERE.