WILMINGTON — Local authorities have received reports of multiple sightings of homeless “encampments” around the wooded areas on near Rombach Avenue and Lowes Drive.
“We have had some reports of homeless encampments,” said Wilmington Police Chief Duane Weyand. “We have done periodic walk-throughs by the railroad tracks from Locust to Lowe’s Drive, and as of our last walk-through we haven’t seen any encampments.”
There have been suspected areas reported that turned out to be just litter that hadn’t been noticed until it was recently exposed after trees were cut back, Weyand said.
The Building and Zoning Department has been notified about the garbage.
“If residents suspect a possible encampment, they may call us,” said Weyand. “If the property owner is allowing them to stay on the property and there is no building or zoning violation, there isn’t much we can do. We will at least notify the property owner of the situation.”
He told the News Journal possible signs of encampments include foot traffic in and out of the wooded areas, debris, and tents/ or tarps seen in the area.
Clinton County Sheriff Ralph Fizer Jr. told the News Journal that, while they haven’t received any reports of encampments in the county at-large, they encourage residents if they see something suspicious to call them.
“Call our regular line (937-382-1611) just to let us know,” said Fizer. “First we’ll go out and check the area, and get them help if they need it. This time of year we don’t want them living outside.”
Fizer also strongly advised people not to approach others.
“They could be passing through the area,” said Fizer. “We’ll see if they’re OK and get some help.”
Local homeless shelters, Your Father’s Kitchen, and various churches in the area help in efforts to help during this time of year, according to the sheriff.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574