Wednesday, 17 April 2019 20:07

Police in Bangor start breaking down homeless camps Featured

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BANGOR - More than a dozen homeless people camping on Bangor city property were told Wednesday it's nearly time to move.

For the past couple of years, homeless campers have set up tents along the Penobscot River in Bangor.

According to Bangor Police Sgt. Wade Betters, this winter several transient campers pitched tents on Bangor Municipal Golf Course property, as well as Bass Park.

"A lot of people choose to stay out here in the woods so that they can continue in that lifestyle with nobody watching over them," said Sgt. Betters.

Police gave the campers a week's notice to pull stakes and get off the city's land.

"Unfortunately, we've had enough cases in the past few years to know as these campsites continue to grow, that they do turn violent," Sgt. Betters said. "You know, with a lot of substance abuse issue and mental health disorders."

Last spring, after several violent incidents, including a stabbing, dozens of homeless people were relocated from a riverfront campsite.

"Knowing that that's generally the pattern as these camps continue to grow, we're trying to make an effort to break down some of the larger camps anyway," Sgt. Betters said. "And try to encourage people to actually follow through and take advantage of some of the help and resources out there."

Bangor Parks and Recreation Director Tracy Willette said as they move the campers, they try to help them find shelter.

"We'll allow folks to get their belongings, collect their belongings, give them time to do that," Willette said. "Anything that's of value to them they have an opportunity to pick up and move."