Walnut Creek police reach out to homeless

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- The Walnut Creek Police Department has launched a homeless outreach program this summer that appears so far to be a success. Two officers volunteered to be assigned to take all calls related to homelessness starting last month. Out of 94 complaints, they've so far made 25 arrests, mostly for trespassing. They've connected with 213 homeless people and referred 90 of them to services.

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Police say homelessness was a growing problem in Walnut Creek with their police department averaging 10 calls a day or 3000 calls a year. There are complaints about encampments, litter, trespassing and aggressive panhandling mostly from businesses in the downtown area.

The pilot program, assigning two officers to homelessness, will be evaluated in September and a decision will be made about making it permanent. Some Walnut Creek residents say they notice a difference on the streets already.

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