Reporting Kristin Marshall
STOCKTON (CBS13) – Officers gave homeless campers about a month’s notice to vacate a stretch of Church Street in Stockton, and police moved in on Wednesday to move out the camp.
Several city agencies showed up around 8 a.m. to remove about 25 or so homeless who’ve called a stretch of grass their home – in some cases for several years.
“They want us to move our stuff, and I feel like if you all move us from this spot, we’re going to float the city and it will be even worse,” homeless camper Jessie Edwards said.
About two dozen others, just like Jessie, were asked to clear their belongings – including mattresses, tents and clothes – on a piece of property just outside a recycling center and a stone’s throw away from shelter services in south Stockton.
“We got the shelter, we got the food and everything, so why not let us stay over this way?” Edwards asked.
Police say while this area does offer the homeless a lot of needed help, it’s also brought with it an increase in crime and health concerns.
“It’s ranging from street robberies, illicit drug sales and usage and also prostitution, so we have to do something,” Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva said. “It’s definitely a health and safety issue because there’s no running water for the people that are living in these encampments.”
Campers collected their items peacefully although some were visually upset.
No citations or arrests were made during the hour or so clean-up efforts. Anything left behind was thrown into a truck.
“They’ll be back in the morning or back in the next day, I guarantee you that, or they’ll be in the next street over there,” onlooker Rudy Abney said.
However, the city said this will be an ongoing effort by to keep the area clear of an encampment.