KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Within the last few days, Kansas City police and the city's Parks Department have removed camps of homeless from Kessler Park amid allegations of meth production and several other crimes.
The Kansas City Police Department decided to remove the homeless from the park because of recent crimes reported in the area. In the last year, officers have responded to burglaries, assaults and even arson. They believe the crimes are linked to those living in the park.
"The presence of these camps in Kessler Park is a deterrent to those who would like to enjoy the city's parks and amenities in the area," Ofc. James Schriever said in a statement.
But Evie Craig, executive director of reStart, has met some of the people who live in city parks. She says there are two distinct types.
"I saw more younger people, and the backpacks there called shake and bake where you can make produce meth, and you could tell that was related to drug use," she said. "That's separate from the folks who have been long-term homeless."
Schriever said there were signs of drug production in Kessler Park.
"While clearing the park, we discovered items used to manufacture methamphetamines, as well as items that indicated some of the individuals were possibly involved in the theft of scrap metals and catalytic converters," he said.
Locally, reStart is participating in a nationwide campaign called 100,000 Homes, which works to find permanent housing for those living on the streets. Its goal is to place 100 people in Kansas City.
Craig said she has seen the number of homeless continue to go down in the Kansas City area over the last two years.
"I would say the number of people who are in camps is not growing," she added.
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