LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock Police Department placed a security camera across the street from a ministry that serves homeless people Thursday morning after numerous complaints from neighboring businesses.
From His Throne Ministries feeds the homeless almost every week night, prompting some people to loiter in the area during the day.
Michelle Hastings, who owns Trivia Marketing, said the loitering and small crimes in the area have picked up since the ministry moved in about two years ago.
“The biggest issue, that I think is confusing everyone is, we need to separate homelessness and crime. Everyone is compassionate. Everyone wants to help in any way they can help. And that’s seen by Joe and his ministry,” Hastings said. “What we all have an issue with is the crime.”
Hastings said the crime is a disruption when customers come in to her business.
“The things I hope the camera will catch, is drug deals, which our clients see. We deal with a lot of law enforcement agencies, and they have seen drug deals on this corner. Prostitution, public nudity, urination, people pooping. I've had my side of the building pooped on” she said.
Lieutenant Steven McClanahan said the area around the ministry has received 243 complaints in 2017. He said the department has received complaints in the area for quite some time.
“The biggest thing that we want to do is to make sure that it’s a safe environment for the citizens, as well as the homeless population,” McClanahan said.
McClanahan said the camera is not monitored 24/7, and is there for a resource for police to use.
"Should a crime occur that's going to be used as an investigative tool that we could use to solve crimes," he said.
McClanahan also said the camera can be moved, but it is appropriate to keep it in place for now.
"Anytime we receive a complaint we have to do our due diligence," McClanahan said. "We have to take a look at it, and so in this case, you have some police down here doing what we're supposed to do, addressing complaints and issues."
From His Throne Ministries Pastor Joseph Malat said he is aware of what goes on during the day and is willing to work with the businesses to help stop the problem.
However, Malat said at the end of the day, he just wants to feed as many homeless people as he can to help solve the problem in Little Rock.
Since the camera was put up Thursday, LRPD said it has made no arrests in the area.
LRPD also said at any given time over the weekend, there were no more than two officers patrolling the area.
McClanahan said the department has over 60 cameras and it moves them around throughout the city.