ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A new mobile phone application has been helping the Anchorage Police Department locate illegal homeless camp sites.

The app allows residents to report sightings of homeless camp sites, KTUU-TV reported (http://bit.ly/2rM9UvO ). Officers then investigate residents’ tips on where the camps might be.

“It gives us the exact coordinate,” Anchorage Police officer Gordon Korrel said. “I can walk right to it, which makes it so much quicker for us.”

People using the app have made 800 reports since it was launched in November.

Authorities are using the app to clear the illegal campsites. Officers are accompanied by social workers so the homeless people at the camps can be provided with assistance.

“Are they a vet? How long have they been homeless? What are they eligible for?” said Tanya Vandenbos, a social worker who travels with the officers. “The hope is that they can receive services from that program. Help with housing. Case management. Getting on benefits. Anything that will help them not camp anymore.”

Authorities decided not to make a map of reported camp sightings public for fear people living in the camps could be targeted.


Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com