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Homeless Camps Lurking In Austin Parks
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:08 PM CDT
The Austin Police Department wants to warn the public about the hidden dangers on the Barton Creek Greenbelt.
Senior Police Officer Eric Bauer tells us homeless people are setting up camps just feet away from walk paths and picnic areas. On average they find two per week.
KEYE TV went with APD and Austin Parks and Recreation as they uncovered the mysterious homes.
A hiker tipped the agencies off Wednesday near the New Wall area.
"They reported they saw a camp over here, saying they had needles and arrays of trash," Bauer said.
Police found sleeping bags, tents, fires, food, cigarettes and alcohol. No one was in the campsite. However if APD did find someone, officers could cite them with camping in public, which carries up to $500 in fines.
"Burn ban or not you can see all of the dry leaves. It's easy to catch a spark onto dry grass," Bauer said.
APD found another transient camp in the caves above the flats, cleaning up everything from beer cans to blankets.
"We have a lot of issues with people drinking up here and you can imagine the obvious safety concern of people being intoxicated and falling off here," Bauer said.
One camp at a time, APD will continue to keep the parks safe making sure your hike is just that.
If you see anything suspicious in the greenbelt call 311.
For more information on the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, go to http://austintexas.gov/department/parks-and-recreation.
By Christie Post