Businesses say rate of homeless trespassing rising, despite millions spent

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:

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SEATTLE - Store owners say the homeless population on Capitol Hill is causing trouble and hurting business. 

“We have seen a massive increase,” Susan Perkins said. “It's made it difficult for the customers to come in and out, they get apprehensive when they see the street people.” 

Statistics back upbusiness owners' concerns. Within the last month there were 13 trespassing reports on Capitol Hill. A year earlier there were just seven reports. 

That means reports of trouble with the homeless are increasing, despite King County taxpayers spending $6.1 million each year for a new facility designed to solve the problem. 

The King County Crisis Solution Center opened about two years ago, just south of Captiol Hill. 

Police officers can bring people to the center when they commit low-level crimes like trespassing.  The goal is to solves issues of homelessness and mental illness without sending everyone to jail. However, no one from the taxpayer-funded center would comment Thursday. 

Seattle police spokesman Drew Fowler said officers are taking people to the service center and the department's also stepping up patrols on Capitol Hill because recent trouble businesses have had. 

“We're going to double down efforts to try and get those folks into the services they require,” Fowler said.