Neighbours demand 24-7 policing of Victoria homeless camp
'At least the people living in the area would feel a little bit safer, especially at night'
People who live and work near a homeless camp in Victoria are calling for a 24-hour police presence to help curb what they describe as lawlessness at the site.
"At least the people living in the area would feel a little bit safer, especially at night," said Don Allen, manager of an apartment building across the street from the tent city.
Allen says open drug use is common at the camp which sits on provincial land. He says people feel intimidated walking by.
Concerned citizens and business operators expressed their frustrations in front of Victoria city council Thursday.
Store owner Teri Hustins told council that she, and many of business owners close to the homeless camp, are worried about "the changing and escalating street scene."
Hustins said she's had to deal with an increasing number of incidents in her store over the past two weeks, including theft, drug use and harassment of store employees.
Tourism Victoria CEO Paul Nursey told council the negative impacts of the homeless camp have been ramping up, becoming increasingly costly for area hotels and inns.
"Roughly there's about a 500 per cent increase in security costs and incidents where security have to get involved and intervene," said Nursey.
City councillor Chris Coleman told CBC News the issue needs addressing.
"I think the people who have hit the wall have said enough is enough," said Coleman. "We don't really care which level of government deals with this. We would like it dealt with please."
The province's request to dismantle the camp was denied by the courts earlier this month.
A trial for an injunction is set for September.
With files from Megan Thomas, Karin Larsen