Homeless encampment could lead to violence, says one legal expert
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A local legal expert sees several issues that might crop up with the homeless encampment in Market Street Park.
The encampment could threaten public safety, for one.
"In the park, there no rules; it’s almost lawless," said Scott Goodman. "And it is really depending on the people that live there to be able to live together and it's inevitable that there will be problems. Possibly some violence, outsiders coming in and people being susceptible to assaults."
Goodman warned that, even though there is no direct evidence linking the encampment, the current environment could potentially lead to incidents similar to the stabbing that occurred early last Sunday, which is currently under investigation by the police.
Goodman also believes that without proper utilities, it will be difficult to support the park's residents.
"Bathrooms, trash, and showers," he said.
He fears the homeless may now feel entitled to make requests from the city.
"People will feel entitled to certain amenities the city must provide them now that they have this encampment allowed by the city," he said.
But, he says none of this should have been an issue in the first place.
"The park system was set up for people to be able to enjoy some green space in a city environment; it was not set up for people to establish their homes there," he said.
Charlottesville Police Chief Michael Kochis said the amount of tents he's seen in the encampment has nearly tripled in just over a week.
"There are about 14 or 15 today," said Kochis.