The people who go to the Palm Springs Library or the Senior Center are seeing a big change in Sunrise Park, the city’s police department placed a mobile command unit in the park to crack down on crimes.
The mobile PSPD unit sits in between Palm Trees and the kid’s playground, it was placed there as a response to numerous complaints by nearby residents and businesses who see an increase of transients and drug use.
John Ross lives in Palm Springs and he uses the library to read each morning before heading to the senior center in the afternoon, he said dozens of homeless people in the part was becoming a regular sight.
“The park is very clear now, it’s very nice,” Ross said. “You know a lot of them were doing drugs and stuff, you know and they want to borrow money, stuff like that.”
The people who slept in the park and their belongings were gone in just days of the police mobile unit’s presence in the park.
The Palm Springs Police Captain, Mike Kovaleff, said the new tactic is not targeting homeless people, instead, it is to get rid of the illegal activities where families and children play.
Kovaleff said, “Over the last several months, we’ve seen an increase of illegal drug activity there, it’s absolutely unacceptable and we’re addressing it.”
The Sunrise Park is home for the Boys and Girls Club, the Library, Skate Park and the Palm Springs Power Baseball stadium.
The Palm Springs Power Manager, Casey Dill said he has noticed a big change.
“We’ve been broken into at the stadium and I don’t want to make it sound like it’s like an every person problem because it’s not,” Dill said. “But you can’t tell the difference of someone who’s just trying to survive to someone who’s in the park doing drugs here to commit crimes.”
Although the program is not focused on homeless housing or rehabilitation, the city is expecting a $10 million state grant to fund their medical treatments and projects to house them.