Residents in Morgantown neighborhood say homeless are tormenting them

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Morgantown, W.Va. – Residents in the Greenmont residential neighborhood are frustrated with the local homeless population who they said has become a great nuisance.

The Kells family moved into the neighborhood in May, from nearby South Park, and said they have had problems since they arrived. The family said they have been tormented by homeless people stealing two of their trash cans, leaving used needles all over the place and trespassing on their property.

In addition, the family said neighbors have had bicycles, packages and a litany of other items stolen.

“I have been dealing with homeless people continuously digging in my trash, trespassing on my property, being around my windows,” Dara Kells said. “There are handprints on two of our windows, on the outside of our house, we don’t know how long they’ve been there or how they got there but it looks like someone was trying to break in our house.”

Kells said it was disheartening because their struggles with homeless people was part of the reason they left their previous neighborhood. She said her family discovered a couple squatting in their basement in their previous home and that they continued to break in even after the landlord installed a lock. Now the family said they cannot afford to move again because of financial constraints.

The Kells family said they have been contacting the police essentially since they moved in but that doing so has not improved their living conditions. The Morgantown Police Department declined to comment because they say they are continuing to investigate.

“I guess they were trying to catch them, they wanted to know what they look like,” Kells said. “Officer Chris Caldwell did come out one time and say ‘if you have video send it to me’. So I’ve been sending everything to him in email. He did reply to me once because I said ‘hey, are you getting these, I’m not getting any replies’ and he did say yes. I get kind of the impression that their hands are tied and that there aren’t enough police officers maybe and I know they deal with a lot of other stuff.”

Kells said she feels like the homeless population is taking over her neighborhood and that she would like to see something done about it. An idea she suggested was having a police officer work in the neighborhood. However, she said that it would be difficult since the department’s resources are stretched thin.

Another suggestion she offered is for homeless shelters and treatment centers to move out of the city and into rural areas so she and her neighbors are not impacted by the spill out.

For now, she said she has reached out to city officials who have told her to attend a city council meeting, where she can air her grievances and hopefully find a solution.

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