A Place To Call Home: What Presque Isle Police Department Is Seeing

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 8:51 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Over the past few weeks we have reported on an increase in crime in the County, but is the Homelessness Crisis playing into the increased crime rate? In this segment of “A Place to Call Home,” Corey Bouchard explores that very question.

So far this year, the Presque Isle Police Department has seen over a 40% increase in calls for service. The reason for that says Deputy Chief Hayes is clear”

Deputy Chief Hayes” Theres multiple factors, theres economic reasons, social reason, also the opioid epidemic and mental health system is the worst it has ever been, theres also a breakdown in the judicial system as well , the jails are full, we’re seeing a lot of repeat offenders, its not only the homeless, thats just a small percentage of what we are dealing with”

Deputy Chief Hayes says that a lot of the calls the department gets regarding homeless people arent actually homeless people at all.

Hayes” A lot of suspicious person calls we get or people acting strangely on Main street and theyre usually always just mental health related and we usually just take those people to the hospital if they require it. "

When it comes to Homeless People living in tents, Deputy Chief Hayes says its not as much of an issue as public comments have made it to be.

Hayes “I personally havent, we have had a couple of complaints about tents in wooded areas sometimes close to the travelled portions, it’s rare,we havent seen that many. Im hearing multiple people complaining about multiple tents but thats not the case that we’ve seen I believe we’ve only gotten about one or two complaints about tents in the city.

We took a walk through the woods at riverside park, one of the locations where tents were reported to have been seen, and what we saw matched up with what deputy chief hayes was saying Aside from some trash dumping locations, there were no signs of tents that we found. Deputy Chief Hayes says he understands peoples frustration when it comes to this issue.

Hayes”I know people are a little impatient when they see it around the county. I can guarantee you that we are working on it, it is a statewide problem, it is a nationwide problem. Myself, I come from Ireland and I just talked to my parents about this last week and they are seeing this problem on that side of the world so it is a monstrous problem but services are there, the money is there and hopefully within a couple of years we are gonna be able to get out of this situation.”

In the next part of this series, We will talk to City and County officials about the work they are doing to help with the Homeless Crisis, Corey Bouchard, NS8.