Effort to get homeless out of parks

February 3, 2008 6:53:12 AM PST
Police hope to crack down on crime by cleaning up public parks and getting the homeless the help they need.The initiative is called Operation Clean Sweep. Officers on horseback are patrolling the parks along White Oak Bayou just north of downtown. Police linked a rise in property crime to homeless people who have been camping in the woods. Some of the clean up includes getting rid of mattresses and tarps found in the parks.

HPD Captain Mark Holloway explained, "We just want to make it so the citizens that want to use this area have an opportunity to do so and not have a fear of being victimized in doing so."

"We're finding campsites and things of that nature and we know that that's not what needs to be happening," said Houston City Councilmember Adrian Garcia.

Operation Clean Sweep has led to 25 arrests in the last two weeks. Officials hope to encourage homeless people to go to shelters and food pantries.

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