Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. Thanks to the Community Officers for tagging the abandoned cars on Gastineau! But, once again, the yellow Safari van, license GAU542 is back and parked there almost 24/7. Sometimes they leave before 8am and returning after 5pm to make sure they aren't seen my the Comm. Officers. They also have a puppy that sits in this van all day and night! My neighborhood is extremely exhauseted from seeing homeless people camping out of their vehicles and parking on our street! What can be done about this?
Dear Juneau Resident,
Thanks for noticing the tagging of the vehicles. Community Service Officers regularly deal with nuisance vehicles and it is not a pleasant duty. The vehicles are often unsanitary and no one enjoys taking the last few things a very poor person has when we impound the vehicle.
The short answer is that you can call and report illegal camping and ask that patrol officers contact the person.
The bigger picture has to do with the economic realities of some of Juneau's residents who are in a situation where camping in cars has become their best option. When JPD applies pressure on those folks to leave one neighborhood, which you have every right to request, the problem simply moves and exhausts the patience of another neighborhood. Then we do the same thing again and a quote about insanity comes to mind.
This issue is one we mull over all the time at JPD. The homeless and inebriates are part of our community and they have rights. Most residents don't want to see those folks, talk to them, or deal with offensive behavior stemming from people drinking alcohol or having no toilet reasonably accessible and using the streets as a toilet. We are constantly on the look out for any community that has made progress with this issue but what we find is other towns struggling with the same dynamics. We are certainly open to suggestions.