SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Monday marked night number one for a new and controversial homeless campsite at Miller Park in the city of Sacramento.
Some hope this new site could help reduce the growing crime problem in that area.READ MORE: Getting Answers: What Do Increased Releases From Folsom Dam Mean For Region's Water Levels?
As the sun set along Sacramento’s waterfront, people began settling in at the new city-sponsored homeless safe ground camping site.
“This is triage, this is crisis response, this is homeless ER,” one city official said.
The location at Miller Park has 60 tents capable of housing more than 100 homeless individuals, along with electricity, portable toilets and showers. The area is fenced off and monitored 24-hours a day.
So how will the city keep the camp safe?
“People will be searched when they come in to make sure that there’s not any things being brought into the site that would be unsafe for the community. That would include alcohol alcohol, drugs, drug paraphernalia, as well as weapons,” a city official said.
“It looks like a damn concentration camp,” Russell Poole said.READ MORE: 'This Isn't Going To Hold Us Back': Drag Event In Woodland Stopped Over Alleged Threats Of Violence
People like Poole who frequent the park have concerns.
“They’re going to trash it just like they did the other places. I know probably everybody in Sacramento has seen what they’ve done and that’s the sad part,”Poole said. “You don’t have to be that way pick your trash up.”
Crime in this neighborhood has skyrocketed over the last two years as the homeless population along the Broadway corridor increased
Police statistics show robberies are up 63 percent, vehicle burglaries have nearly doubled and vandalism is up nearly 80 percent.
Many hope getting the homeless off the streets and into a controlled environment with counseling will help.
“You see the tents are really nice i think i think that’s a safe harbor right now for those people that have placed in the homelessness,” one person said.
Getting a tent at the site is by referral only — no walk-ups are allowed.MORE NEWS: California Lawmakers Demand Accountability After Personal Info Of Concealed Weapons Holders Leaked
There were only five campers staying there Monday night. The city says about ten more will be added each day until it’s full.