Officials clear out homeless encampments along Azusa riverbed


AZUSA — Authorities Wednesday visited the San Gabriel riverbed in Azusa to clear the area of transients and homeless encampments, police said.
The riverbed along the west end of the city is a popular illegal campsite for transients, Azusa police Officer Mike Bires said in a written statement.
“The Azusa Police Department has made numerous contacts with these individuals and advised them they were trespassing,” Bires said. Services have been offered, and some of the inhabitants have elected to take advantage of them and abandon their camps.
“The riverbed camps generally consist of altered landscape, tents, makeshift bathrooms, fire pits, smelting pits, (et cetera). The number of camps fluctuates, but there is constantly a large amount of trash and debris left in the riverbed by the trespassers.”

AZSWEEP2Police early Wednesday teamed with Los Angeles County Fire Department arson investigators, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, and officers of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control to sweep through the area, officials said.
“Numerous occupied and abandoned encampments were located and several homeless subjects were contacted,” Bires said. “All subjects that were contacted were offered resources available to the homeless. Only one was interested in taking advantage of those resources. The remaining subjects were advised of trespassing laws and provided contact information for homeless resources should they reconsider the offer.”
In addition to creating a safer, cleaner environment for those who legally visit the area and protecting the area’s ecology, officials said fire safety was also a concern during Wednesday sweep.
AZSWEEP3“There has been an increase in the number of brushfires in the area during the last several months, and reducing the illegal camping will help to reduce the wildfire danger associated with the makeshift fire pits that are found in the illegal camps,” Bires said.
No arrests were made during the operation, he added, however authorities plan to keep a close eye on trespassing issued along the riverbed in the future.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Azusa Police Department

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