A number of arrests throughout routine unlawful tenting enforcement Monday in Colorado Springs

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — The Colorado Springs Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) said it arrested at least three people Monday morning during routine enforcement of a city ordinance prohibiting camping within 100 feet of a creek or a other waterway prohibits .

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However, police said they did not hold the suspects in custody for violating the ordinance, but for pending felony and misdemeanor warrants.

Police said this was a normal result of their regular enforcement of camps along waterways; Monday’s arrests were made along Fountain Creek, south of downtown near the intersection of Interstate 25 and Tejon Street.

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KRDO went to the scene after someone received a call complaining that police were confiscating personal property from homeless people and evicting them from the camps without notice.

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Police said that was not true, saying they were required to post notices of an illegal camp eviction in a park or other public place within 24 hours of the eviction, but illegal campers along a waterway only had one hour Time to gather her stuff and leave.

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The city’s Neighborhood Service team cleans up a warehouse and collects trash only after items of apparent value are collected and later returned to the homeless

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Police said it’s not a perfect system, but sometimes a camp is unmanned when they arrive, so officers make every effort to avoid throwing anything valuable away.

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“I’d like to think we’re making a difference,” said Sgt. Olaf Chaney. “I really think we’re making a difference. It’s a slow process. Whenever we contact the same people, we almost always have to try to convince them to go to rehab. Most of them have some kind of addiction to drugs and alcohol.”

A record 2,800 truckloads of trash were removed from homeless camps this year, police said.

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Later this week, police will again patrol the area and are urging illegal campers to seek shelter at the Springs Rescue Mission – just a short distance from this section of the creek – if sub-zero temperatures arrive.

The area patrolled by HOT Monday was along the creek between Cimarron Street and South Nevada Avenue.

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Walking through the area on Monday, Wyatt May said he has been homeless since losing his job three years ago and is struggling to find permanent housing.

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“I can understand why people don’t want to go to an animal shelter,” he said. “Too many restrictions. But I can’t understand why people dislike the police – or me for cleaning up some of these areas for the city. We’re just doing our jobs and trying to protect people and keep areas clean. I think most homeless people just want to be out here. You can only help yourself. Don’t beg for someone to help you. If you want help, you have to help yourself.”