Arvada family concerned about illegal dumping, camping near their home

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ARVADA, Colo -- From piles of trash to drug needles and knives, Arvada neighbors are fed up with illegal dumping and people who are homeless living behind their homes.

“Garbage, trash, empty food cans,” Adam Kniffin said.

Kniffin and his wife, Andrea, dodge suitcases, tires, and piles of blankets right behind their home.

“This is disgusting,” Kniffin said.

The family says there is a camp on the other side of their fence near Ralston Road and Rensselear Drive which is attracting rats and a smell wafts over when they are outside.

“It’s stinks," Kniffin said. "It’s just like wheeew.”

They have also found syringes with needles and weapons.

“There was a good sized hunting knife and another one like a steak knife,” Kniffin said.

The Problem Solvers contacted the Arvada Police Department, which oversees code enforcement. Officers have issued a notice to vacate for the people camping out here.

“We post this with a 72-hour notice giving the owners of it civil notice, making sure their civil rights are being adhered to, to remove the property, collect the property and place it somewhere safe,” Det. David Snelling with the Arvada Police Department said.

Arvada recently created a community outreach team that responds to sites like this one to provide resources for people needing a place to stay overnight or counseling. But the cleanup can be a costly for taxpayers.

“It’s not just a service that the city provides, it’s a service that costs taxpayers money. It has to be picked up. most of these sites can contain bio-hazards, and it needs to be picked up appropriately and safe for city employees to gather,” Snelling said.

The Kniffins worry the trash will keep piling up.

“I understand needing a place, but clean your stuff up. Respect other people’s properties. There’s plenty of shelters to get help,” Kniffin said.

The city tells the Problem Solvers they anticipate having this area cleaned up by Thursday.

If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness in Arvada, go to the city's website to view a list of resources, or the Jefferson County website.

To report an illegal dumping concern click here or call the main city line 720-898-7000.

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