Davenport Police Crack Down On Homeless Sleeping In Skybridge - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Police Crack Down On Homeless Sleeping In Skybridge

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We have an update to a story TV6 first brought you back in December. Janitors who work in Davenport's skybridge told TV6 when they would come into work the skybridge would be vandalized. The skybridge is clean now,  but homeless who use it say they they've been banned from going into it.

"We're just trying to find a place to sleep for the night and get on with our lives as well as we can," says Gary Susich.

Susich is homeless. He spends his nights on the streets looking for shelter anywhere he can.

"I was at 2 shelters, but my time ran out," adds Susich, "I went to the overflow one, but it was only for the winter."

He started using the stairwell of the skybridge at night.

"We went up there for a few days and it was fine," says Susich, "We just slept there, we didn't cause any damage or anything like that."

After a few days police officers discovered Susich and issued him a citation for trespassing.

"We're banned for life, that's what it says on the warning ticket," says Susich, "We can't go there anymore."

The crackdown on homeless sleeping in the skybridge is part of a bigger effort to make downtown safer. A recent city survey showed people perceive downtown as being unsafe.

"What we started back in December of 2012 was we instituted extra patrols as a part of our patrol division," says Davenport Police Chief Frank Donchez.

Since December police have added 339 patrols to their normal schedule. The increase has led to 14 arrests, 13 referrals to social service agencies and 17 trespassing citations.

"We were having not only damage, but there was drinking, sexual activity, and all kinds of things going on in the skybridge," adds Chief Donchez.

The police department has also started utilizing the NETS program downtown, which adds 3 officers to the area.

"Their assignment is to make contact with business owners, go in there talk with them, find out what their issues are and try to address those issues," says Chief Donchez.

Well Susich understands the effort to make downtown safer, he says he's just trying to get by and wants people to be aware there is are homeless in the Quad Cities.

"The country has forgotten about our homeless situation," adds Susich, "We go worldwide to help everybody else, but we got homeless people here in this country and for as rich as we are that shouldn't happen."

The NETS program has officers patrolling downtown on foot and bicycles. One of the reasons for targeting downtown is there are more people living there and the city wants to make sure they feel safe.

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