Homeless with shopping carts are growing police problem

September 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you assume homeless people don't have anything, you might be surprised.

Fresno police Sgt. Robert Dewey knows better. He points out one man who's shopping carts take up a quarter of a block.

"Everything you see all that's one person's stuff."

Sgt. Dewey says the shopping carts enable a hoarding behavior that is in itself keeping many on the streets.

"He will tell you it's my stuff, he says I need my stuff."

Sgt. Dewey says carts allow the homeless and their stuff to move. One woman Action News spoke with, Lorie moved north, to Holmes playground. City crews have moved her and her shopping carts and a truck load of "possessions" several times now.

Lori's prized possessions include plastic soda bottles which serve as homes for her black widow spiders.

Reporter: "And do you give them names, or what?"

Lori: "Yes, this is Wicked... this is Eleanor."

Reporter: "And what's it like, when they say, hey, we've got to move you?"

Lori: "For me, feel like my whole worlds being torn apart and I'm losing everything I got again."

Police say shopping carts encampments are also shielding criminal activity. Police confiscated a back pack full of drugs from a dealer operating behind the wall of shopping carts on Santa Clara Street downtown at the site of a recently removed homeless camp.

Police Captain Randy Dobbins told Action News, "Those shopping carts are being used as camouflage or barricade to prevent people from seeing that on the other side these people are engaged in drug activity."

Taking the carts away doesn't always solve the problem. Lori and her partner say they are working on building their own cart, so they can be free to roam.

Lori: "We've been trying to get enough wood and supplies to build something."

Reporter: "So you have your own cart."

Lori: "We have our own cart, we don't need to use anything or anybody."


Load Comments