Homeless camps pop up in McKenzie Towne
CPS officer dismantles southeast Calgary camp containing bedding and drug paraphernalia
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When Adrienne Stewart realized someone had been using her southeast Calgary backyard as a place to sleep she felt uneasy—but when she noticed someone had gone number two next to her son’s play structure, she was disgusted.
Stewart said it all started earlier this summer when she and her husband discovered bedding, pillows, and clothing next to their McKenzie Towne home’s detached garage.
“Somebody had obviously been sleeping there for a couple nights,” she said.
Not long after Stewart noticed the bedding and other items had been moved into their locked backyard next to their garage.
“We got rid of the bedding, threw it in the garbage and pulled the garbage can into the garage—because they were rooting through our garbage, too,” she said.
Stewart said she became disgusted one day when she saw that someone had pooped next to her son’s play place.
“It was definitely human— we felt violated,” she said.
After calling the police and reporting the problem to a community resource officer, Stewart said an officer was sent to their home to talk about the issue and how they were dealing with it.
Const. Craig Kam, Community Resource Officer for the area was the one who attended Stewart’s home. After hearing about Stewart’s issue he began walking through a bushed area behind their home that backs onto the 130 Avenue strip mall and found a homeless camp.
“Sure enough there were a bunch of sleeping bags, clothes, syringes and evidence of drug use,” he said. “I had to pack all that stuff up and clean it up, because for public safety reasons I can’t leave it.”
Kam said they’ve recently increased patrols in the area—something Stewart is happy about, but said she still isn’t totally at ease.
“We’ll be getting an alarm system installed soon,” she said. “First they were outside our yard, then they were inside our yard – and so we’re just concerned it could escalate again.”
Bottle picking has also been an issue in the area, said Kam, who has been called numerous times in the area as of late.
“Most of the homes here back onto an alleyway so the homeless people are going into people’s backyards stealing bottles and cans,” he said. “It’s easy pickings for them.”
Resident Mike Hrbnak caught one man on camera looking around his backyard and said he’s lucky he wasn’t home when it happened.
“At some point, if this continues, they’re going to run into a dad protecting his kids, and it won’t end well,” he said.
Kam said they encourage everyone who has issues of people stealing their bottles or behaving suspiciously in their neighbourhood to call the non-emergency line (403-266-1234).
“We need to be notified about that stuff,” he said, adding that calls help them build timelines and can possibly lead to arrests.
Hrbnak and Stewart are both active users of the McKenzie Towne Neighbourhood Watch group on Facebook and said it’s been a helpful tool for them and their community in dealing with these problems as they escalate.