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Kadena cops crack down on not-really-homeless homeless

Date Posted: 2009-05-28

Vagrants Kadena Police once thought were homeless are proving a challenge, as investigation shows many of the men disrupting everyday life around the esplanade and under a bridge really have homes.

Police are patrolling parks and under bridges, looking for drunks and people sleeping in the public places. The Ministry of Health and Labor has been conducting its checks nationwide, including Okinawa. The disturbing Kadena Town statistic is that 11 people are registered as homeless, but town office workers say the real story is “there are too many people who have homes, but don’t go back home to sleep. They like to drink outside with strangers, and sleep outside, too.”

Kadena Town officials, as well as the police, say town residents are becoming upset about the vagrants, many of whom prevent citizens from using public facilities such as rest rooms. Police have intensified patrols of the area, and report they’ve found 22 people living under a local bridge in the past year. Ten of those 22, police say, do have homes but didn’t want to go home. Another six men had homes, but claim not to know how to register the address.

Kadena Town staff and the police have begun patrolling together. They’re sharing information continuously, and working to identify people who have homes, and to encourage them to go back home.

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