Leaders discuss nagging issues in Tumon - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Leaders discuss nagging issues in Tumon

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It's a growing problem in the community, and law enforcement are reaching out to lawmakers to do something about it. Homelessness and aggressive panhandling are more prevalent in the Tumon-Tamuning area and threaten the island's cash cow.

Guam Police Department Sergeant Cecil Sulla sees it every day. "Tumon is our bread and butter. Where we have all the tourists. We've been getting calls from the Lieutenant Governor's Office. Mayor [Louise] Rivera. GVB. They send us pictures and they're asking police officers what we're going to do about it," he said.

Too many of the island's homeless are making Tumon their temporary address. Not only is it an eyesore, but a danger to the community.

According to law enforcement in today's roundtable discussion hosted by the Tamuning Mayors Office, protecting the island's tourism capitol will take more than increased police presence. It'll take stricter laws.

Sulla said, "The problem with law enforcement is that we're basically that. The problem is that we don't have teeth to deal with the issues to deal with homeless loitering, squatting in public areas."

Currently GPD can only enforce laws on loitering but even that they admit, is too vague.

Other issues related to homelessness include chronic public intoxication, panhandling, trespassing, shoplifting, petty thefts, robbery, drug dealing, and mental illness.

These issues were presented to Senator Brant McCreadie today, who said, "I'll use you guys' suggestions to come up with something. I think the best thing, because we all want to be humanitarians at the same time but tough on crime and mitigate the problem, I think the idea of one two and three warnings and chances...maybe we can put something in there to get them help. I don't know how we're going to o it but there's a way. We just have to figure it out."

Also present at today's meeting was Tamuning mayor Rivera, Parks & Recreations, and G4S. G4S also presented plans to install more cameras in Tumon, specifically JFK Hill, where many strongarmed robberies against tourists have occurred in recent months.

Meanwhile, Senator McCreadie has requested a follow up meeting next week as well as ridealongs with GPD to identify problem areas.

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