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Homeless people reportedly scatter from Salt Lake due to Operation Rio Grande

SALT LAKE CITY – City officials say they’re getting calls of smaller homeless camps popping up in many different places ever since Operation Rio Grande started.

There were 71 arrests on day two of Operation Rio Grande.  But, while drug dealers and other criminals have been scattering away from the shelter, the regular homeless population has, too, keeping them away from potentially getting services they need.  Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown says, “Look, for those that are experiencing homelessness, it is not a crime.”

Brown says a humanitarian outreach program was always part of their plans.  On the second day, 64 more people walked into the Community Connection Center to get help, including a pregnant woman looking for drug detox.  So, if there are more homeless camps arising, they want to know where they are.  “Please, report and let us know if you’re seeing an uptick or a camp spring up.  We need to know,” Brown says.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski says her office has been fielding complaints, and they’re normally able to respond within the same day.  She says, “We have responded to some of those calls, already, and reached out into those neighborhoods.”

People can either call their local police departments if they see an uptick of homeless people in their area, or, they can submit their information through slchost.org .