UTPD Chief urges Austin leaders to ban homeless camping along campus perimeter | KXAN.com

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the University of Texas at Austin welcomed students for the Fall 2019 semester, University Police Chief David Carter is beseeching the city to prevent homeless people from camping along the perimeter of campus.

Carter’s Wednesday letter was addressed to Mayor Steve Adler and Austin City Councilmembers. In it, he said the UT community supports the city’s efforts to help find solutions for finding permanent housing for homeless people but till then, security needed to be improved.

“…I request that the Council work to improve public safety by prohibiting camping by members of the public in areas along the entire perimeter of campus, as well as in the area west of campus where many students live, work and gather,” he wrote.

Carter wrote that police regularly respond to calls about predatory or harassing behavior along the “Drag,” referring to a stretch of Guadalupe Street near the UT campus that is frequented by students, staff and faculty. In the letter, Carter said members of the UT community “often feel threatened” in the area and sometimes homeless people themselves become victims of violence there.

Allowing homeless people to sit or camp in the densely populated West Campus area also posed a risk to public health and security, Carter wrote.

“The City has a responsibility not only to seek appropriate housing and treatment for the homeless, but to recognize that the interface of young students and some subjects of the homeless community have created potential dangers,” Carter wrote. “This view is not based on discriminatory practices but, rather, on real-world experiences of members of the UT community.”