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Larimer County Sheriff says transients are filling the jail, wants to start a statwide discussion

Posted: 8:01 PM, Jun 14, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-14 22:01:14-04

In Fort Collins, many believe Jefferson Park has turned into a place for the homeless to gather.

“It’s a hobo park because that's where a lot of the homeless hang out,” said Mark who is among the homeless, but has a job lined up. He says Jefferson Park is a dangerous place to be and it's mainly caused by unemployed transients.

“You watch fights go on in there, you watch drug use go on in there,” said Mark.

Mark isn't alone in his frustrations. Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith says he is fed up with transient crimes after a transient man sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl recently.

“I have had enough of this being an underground issue. The crimes they are committing are costing this community dearly,” said Sheriff Smith.

Smith says many of the transients have extensive rap sheets and move to Colorado for the marijuana.

“They have no interest in working, they have no interest in participating or contributing to society," said Smith.

Smith says their unemployment eventually contributes to the county’s jail overpopulation.

Smith says one in every four inmates locked up at the Larimer County Jail is a transient.

He says he isn't the only sheriff going through this growing issue and there needs to be a statewide discussion.

“We've got to step back and ask what we are doing that's bringing them here and be willing to change," said Smith.