Bartley's Beat: Springfield Police Officer Chris Krieger

The Springfield Police Department says there are dangers the homeless population poses to residents.

Have you ever wondered what lingers beyond the trees in your neighborhood?

The Springfield Police Department says there are dangers the homeless population poses to residents.

According to Springfield Police Officer, Chris Krieger, some homeless people in the area are taking over private and city land and building transient camps that could be right in your backyard. Many of the camps law enforcement discovers are overrun with goods.

“There’s a high likelihood that this is a lot of stolen property,” Krieger says. “We always watch these video’s where people just walk up a driveway and they test a door handle on their left and their right, and if the car opens they get in there and they take what they think is valuable, and they’re gone and the theft happens. Then they’re just going to bring it back here and see what they have. “

If members of the homeless population aren’t living in these camps, Krieger says there’s only a few other options. They will either live in the streets, out in the open, or they’ll find an abandon house or building to live in. These neighboring buildings could be used to stash stolen goods, do or sell drugs, or sleep.

He describes how a specific empty home for sale could fall victim to intruders, “that center piece of plywood right there is like an access point to either get into the garage and get to the upstairs apartments.”

A couple times a week, S.P.D is dispatched to an empty building. Krieger says it acts as a magnet, within weeks it becomes home to people who don’t have one.

“A lot of the times they’ll destroy the insides,” Krieger explains “Typically the water gets shut off, there’s no electricity, but the restrooms are still used, the carpet gets destroyed. You know a lot of times, they spray paint the walls, they tear out appliances and light fixtures, these places get destroyed.”

Krieger warns residents to be aware of open buildings in their neighborhood, he says downtown Springfield has seen an increase in this issue. Springfield Police also urge residents to alert them of an open building so they can monitor it before it becomes an issue.

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