In light of the recent increase in criminal activity and other public hazards associated with the homeless population illegally camping along the Stanislaus River in Riverbank, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted a trespass letter authorizing the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department to conduct enforcement on its property.
According to Riverbank Police Services Chief Erin Kiely, those recent incidents and criminal cases have included an armed robbery with a hatchet in April, a homicide in June, human waste collecting in five gallon buckets and open earth pits, large accumulations of trash, trees being chopped down for firewood and shelters, open fire pits creating a fire hazard, and used hypodermic needles/syringes being found in the area. The enforcement sweep on Friday morning, Aug. 5 addressed those who had illegal encampments on Corps property who had been given prior verbal warnings by deputies to leave the area and refused to comply, added Kiely. Nineteen people were cited for related trespass and two were arrested on unrelated warrants. All people cited were given a pamphlet with a comprehensive listing of in county resources available to them, in order to assist them with obtaining food, clothing, shelter, medical care, transportation, work, along with access to support groups, recovery centers and crisis centers. Those who did not have phones were advised to go to Riverbank Police Services and use the phone there if needed to contact these resources.