ANDERSON, Calif. -

The Anderson Police Department is working to phase out homeless camps because they believe the sites are harming the environment, hurting businesses nearby and sometimes putting the community in danger.

Lt. Rocky Harpham with the Anderson Police Department said homeless camps are a common sight in the city of Anderson.

“This problem has done nothing but grow in the last 20 to 30 years,” said Lt. Harpham.

When their department conducts sweeps of the camps, they always try to get people help, since many are homeless due to mental health issues or substance abuse.

“It’s sad seeing these people living on the street living this way. Some of the people we spoke to are just down on their luck,” said Lt. Harpham.

On Tuesday, officers went in to sweep the camp site between I-5, Balls Ferry and Barney Roads. On Wednesday, the site was filled with leftover trash and camping materials. Many just end up moving to another site to set up camp, continually leaving their garbage behind and polluting the land wherever they go.

Another issue with the homeless camps is that they are set up on private land, which means people are trespassing.

“We know they are stealing from some of these businesses and Wal-Mart is a very big one, because it’s a common issue and within walking distance of this location,” said Lt. Harpham.

Since the camps are located near businesses and homes, Lt. Harpham said the public can sometimes be in danger.

“A lot of times they will go to businesses and buy their alcohol. They won’t go far and be passed out drunk near the business,” said Lt. Harpham.

Lt. Harpham said unfortunately it’s a reoccurring problem that just comes with the job.

“For me personally we do this to try and make everybody feel as safe as possible,” said Lt. Harpham.

The Anderson Police Department conducts transient camp sweeps every few months within city limits.