WILMINGTON — A joint operation between the Wilmington Police Department’s Special Response Team and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office conducted Wednesday to uncover nine homeless camps.
The field operation was launched in response to a number of business and citizen complaints about homeless encampments, trespassers on private property, property damage and theft, according to a city of Wilmington news release.
The campsite is included on the Wilmington College cross-country pass and is off the city bike trail. Behind the US Post Office near the railroad tracks. Behind Lowes. Behind Timber Tech. Behind CMH and the fairgrounds. Wooded area between N. Wall St. and Prairie Creek Crossing.
According to the city, no one was actually in the camp when officers carried out the operation.
All campsites were littered with large amounts of trash and debris, and in some locations, multiple hypodermic needles were found in piles of rubble and other drug-related equipment.
Wilmington Police Chief Ron Fissen said, “Though these camps are illegal, the City will recover abandoned private property, even those located in these illegal locations, and hold it for a specified period of time. We have a legal obligation to hold. In this case, our agent will hold the property for 72 hours.
“Our officers conducting operations were required to leave notices at each location outlining the procedure for how to recover private property.”
Regarding the camp, he said: “The amount of garbage and debris is overwhelming and it will take a long time and work to remove it at the city’s expense.
“We are also concerned about city officials tasked with cleaning up these sites. These camps remain a safety hazard for all involved.”
One of the illegal camps set up during the operation.