SPD says it's cracking down on homeless RV camper crime; neighbors want more done

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Police Department said it’s cracking down on crime associated with homeless RV campers.

There are still many neighbors who think the police need to do more to keep their streets safe.

SPD said despite criticism by some neighbors, the department is taking their concerns very seriously.

But some homeowners believe there are too many criminals living in RVs for police to handle.

“We’ve been dealing with this,” said homeowner Megan Nystrom. “There’s just been a lot of crime and then you’ll hear scuffles and all sorts of stuff.”

From Fremont to the Sodo district, run-down RVs line city streets, and the crime associated with the people living inside has neighbors all over Seattle worried police can’t keep up.

“No one bothers calling 911 because we can’t get a quick enough response,” said homeowner Harley Lever.

SPD and Mayor Ed Murray’s office said they are cracking down on crime – arresting homeless burglars, drug dealers, felons and sex offenders living in RVs and camps.

“They’ve actually arrested people in some RVs that have committed crimes,” said Murray. “I think it’s a danger right now to  conflate all homelessness with crime.”

The city plans to move homeless people camping out of cars and RVs into two safe lots, where people will have access to services as long as they aren’t violent or do drugs.

“I’m going to treatment,” said Brandon Badeaux, who lives in an RV in Fremont. “That’s hopefully a step in the right direction.”

Badeaux said he rolled into town a couple weeks ago. He said he’s no criminal; he’s just trying to stay warm.

“We’re all people and we deserve somewhere to be,” he said.

Some neighbors understand not every homeless person living in an RV is a criminal – but Nystrom believes SPD needs to do even more to keep her neighborhood safe.

“It’s not all of them, it’s some,” she said. “Just get the some, the problem, to be dealt with.”

The two safe-space homeless RV camps should open in a few weeks, one in Ballard and one in Magnolia.