Welcome to the Bellingham Police Department Homeless Camp Online Police Reporting System. This system allows you to submit a report immediately so that our team can begin our established process for outreach and cleanup scheduling.
What happens after you report a camp?
- Your report is entered into a database shared by several City departments
- The camp is scheduled (if needed) for outreach by the Homeless Outreach Team
- The Homeless Outreach Team is operated by the Opportunity Council and assists unsheltered homeless by notifying them of available resources and plugging those individuals into those resources if they choose to accept them.
- Occupants are contacted by the homeless camp coordinator and are given notice to vacate and remove their property within a specific amount of time
- The camp is scheduled for cleanup in case the occupants of the camp leave trash and debris behind
- The camp is cleaned, and any remaining occupants may be trespassed and/or subject to arrest for trespassing.
Why does it take so long for a camp to be cleaned up?
- There are close to 200 reports of homeless camps, activity and trash in the online reporting queue at any one time and it takes time to coordinate the resources required for outreach, notification and cleanup.
- If the camp is on private property, the property owner is responsible for the clean up while Police assist with removal of occupants. This can sometimes mean that the owner is unable to get the cleanup scheduled immediately.
Why don't I just call 911 to report the camp?
- Statistically Patrol Officers respond to over 70,000 calls for service (911 calls) in a year. Patrol does not have the resources to coordinate outreach, notify occupants and follow up with them later due to call volume. Patrol also does not have camp cleanup abilities.
- Often the size of the camp and cleanup coordination required is beyond the resource capabilities of patrol.
What happens to belongings/property that is left behind?
- Property that can be attributed to a specific person or appears valuable is impounded for safekeeping for up to 90 days.
- Property that is not valuable/attributed to a specific person is considered abandoned by former occupants is discarded.
Once you have read the information above and are ready to make a report please fill out the online Encampment Activity Form to complete the process.