Englewood homeless encampment grows; police express concern

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A homeless encampment along the South Platte River continues to grow and is creating safety concerns in Englewood. Police in the southern suburb are detailing the problems officers face on a routine basis.

The urban campers who spoke with FOX31 point to Denver’s camping ban. They say the ban has pushed them into certain pockets of the metro area where they know police are powerless to push them out. Englewood does not have a camping ban.

“It’s very much a struggle for people to survive,” said an urban camper who lives in a parked RV near the South Platte River. “It can be dangerous. It’s dangerous for the women, especially young women. They often are getting raped.”

There’s been an influx of people along the South Platte River over the past several months, according to police. In Denver, police have a camping ban to help them clear certain areas. Without a camping ban in Englewood, officers say they’ve been facing challenges over officer safety and the safety of those who are camping.

The area of concern is between 2800 S. Platte River Dr. and 3355 S. Platte River Dr. That is that stretch where officers say they’ve encountered trip wires, human waste and needles.

If Denver voters approve Initiative 300 -- ridding the city of its camping ban — the area of concern could become less desirable for urban campers. Initiative 300 is on the ballot for the May election.

“We continue to look at ways in which we can assist those who need resources while working collaboratively, coming to a solution that is suitable for all those involved,” said Englewood police Sgt. Chad Read in a written statement.

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