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Crime & Justice

CMPD Says 'We Are Not Here To Criminalize Homelessness'

120320 12th St camp.JPG
David Boraks
/
WFAE
A couple of dozen tents remain at a homeless encampment off 12th Street in Charlotte.

During its weekly press conference Wednesday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department fielded multiple questions on how the police are interacting with people living in homelessness.

More tents have been added in recent months to the homeless encampment just outside of uptown known as "Tent City." When asked about officer interactions with people living in homelessness, Capt. Brad Koch said, "we are not here to criminalize homelessness."

Koch stressed officers are not getting in the way of groups offering aid to people living in Tent City, or arresting those setting up tents.

"That is certainly not a stance that we as a police department are taking and that is not something that we would ever do," he said.

Koch said CMPD has been working with community partners who are equipped to help with permanent housing.

"I understand the focus on why people think that it's a police problem or a police issue but this is so much bigger than the police," he said.

Koch added a holistic approach is needed to help people living in homelessness. He said CMPD has many resources dedicated to responding to that area, including officers who have crisis intervention training.

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