Fredericton Police chief defends monitored tent cities

·2 min read
Police have been letting some homeless people tent at four sites through the city. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC - image credit)
Police have been letting some homeless people tent at four sites through the city. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC - image credit)

.Fredericton's police chief is defending a north side monitored tent city in the face of complaints it is bringing increased crime to the neighbourhood.

Residents on social media said they've had to deal with trespassing, public intoxication and theft since the site opened in May.

The site, one of four monitored tent sites for people who are homeless in the city, has basic services like porta–potties and garbage pickup.

One post on social media asks "When is enough going to be enough?"

"I have lived here for over 25 years and the [nearby walking] trail has never been a perfect addition to your backyard, but this is not acceptable," said a post on Facebook.

"We do pay taxes. Why do we have to put up with this in our backyard?"

But Police Chief Roger Brown said he doesn't think the issues being experienced on the north side are all attributable to the monitored tent city.

"The sites that we are trying to manage probably only have maybe 20 or so people that stay in those," said Brown.

Submitted by the Fredericton Police Force
Submitted by the Fredericton Police Force

"We've had, you know, some relative success in and around those sites because we've been able to link some of the individuals who are living there with the services that they desperately need."

Brown said he spoke with homeowners and business owners in the area last week to help educate and explain what the city is looking to do with the monitored sites.

He said often the homeless community are victims themselves and are often blamed for crimes they did not commit.

"There are other individuals who are criminal minded, there are people who, you know, steal ... that are not associated with the homeless population at all," said Brown.

"Those are people that are looking for fencing opportunities, probably to deal with drug addictions and the like."

Brown said the city has a significant meth problem, one that can be seen as a root cause of the homelessness and crime issues the city is facing.

While he's not entirely sure what organizations are bringing meth into the city, he believes outlaw biker gangs are a major culprit.

"Let's not kid ourselves, they are definitely involved in the distribution of meth."

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