HYANNIS – [HN NOTES] – A big concern for downtown patrol officers is ‘homeless-on-homeless’ violence.
On May 20th of last year (2019), officers responded to the Hyannis Village Green to find a bloody scene where a 23-year-old man had been stabbed to death.
It’s important to note that assaults among some of the homeless are not uncommon, especially in the area of the village green. But officers also realize that it can be easier to keep an eye on and protect vulnerable homeless individuals by having them all in one place… especially during these difficult, unusual times.
In more recent months, homeless individuals have sort of been allowed to camp in the area of the bandstand as long as there wasn’t
any serious issues, like violence…
The problems of the homeless simply trying to survive on the streets of Hyannis are a major concern. And it’s a huge dilemma for police officers, one not easily solved. Most officers in the downtown area develop friendly relationships with the downtrodden on their beat. They are often there for them at the worst times in their lives. And most officers that I know (the sane ones) have a special soft spot in their heart for these unfortunate souls. They get know these individuals, and in too many cases they will ultimately end up being the ones needing to respond when they die.
Due to the numbers, it’s impossible to save everyone. Throughout the years, a Hyannis patrol officer will see homeless individuals die on our streets due to a wide range of causes, from drugs to extreme weather conditions… and every once and while, ‘homeless-on-homeless’ violence.
In short, despite their well-intended initiatives and efforts, the police department does not have the resources to ultimately solve the problem of homelessness in Hyannis… nor were they meant to be the ones who conclusively shoulder this issue. It’s a deeply rooted issue that needs to be addressed at a much deeper level.
In the meantime, the most important of all police functions is to keep the peace. Which is why officers reluctantly had to have everyone pack up their campsites and leave after this morning’s violent disturbance that sent one man to the hospital.
This morning shortly after 1:00 a.m., a patrolman checking in on the homeless observed some type of disturbance. It turned out to be an assault that sent one man to the hospital with what was described as a laceration. Witnesses were unable to identify the suspect(s). Officers reluctantly decided to clear everyone from the bandstand for the remainder of the morning, a decision that was especially upsetting for those who had nothing to do with the violence. And officers did not take pleasure in making the decision to move everyone along, but their main concern was to keep the peace (and they were also concerned about trash being left behind) especially on our town green…
… again, it was just last year that one such disturbance abruptly ended the life of a 23-year-old homeless man just footsteps from where everyone stood this morning…
… “and so it goes.”
(Let’s hope and pray things improve for those who find themselves on our streets…)
The following HN Video contains call audio… it shows some individuals being briefly detained, but not charged… it also shows those who were not involved expressing their concerns about having to suddenly pack up and leave… and it shows a homeless man’s dog going over to greet and be petted by police officers (and those who know dogs, know they are an excellent judge of character)…
P.S. – Today’s Hytown Vignette is brought to you Pearl Jam… [CLICK IT/CRANK IT! A DIRECT HEADPHONE BRAIN LINK CAN’T HURT…]