WASHINGTON (NewsChannel 8) - Wedged between three busy downtown roads, Cobbs Park has become a danger zone-covered with garbage, smelling of urine. There’s drug use and dealing. Police reports show 44 arrests have been made there in just 38 days.
Shandy Plicka says she feels comfortable walking by but wouldn’t spend time there.
“No, I wouldn’t,” she says.
When NewsChannel 8 tried to get a closer look, at first people shoved our cameras, screamed and harassed us. Intimidating behavior like this has Roma Matiukiene frustrated. She owns three hostiles nearby.
“They're writing bad reviews because this area is not safe,” she says.
NewsChannel 8's camera was eventually able to go inside where most of the men and women say they’ve been kicked out of a nearby homeless shelter. They admit crime is a problem, but say they’re out of options.
“All of these people out here are watching us, mocking us, but we're homeless, where else are we supposed to go?” one woman says.
“I think we can definitely step up our law enforcement there if crimes are being committed,” says D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. “We'll have MPD look at it and our other law enforcement partners in the area, we’ll work with them on this.”
A spokesman for the mayor’s office added they are working with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Health to work out a solution.
MPD spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said MPD is aggressively targeting the area, and is working with other agencies to find a solution.
Back at the park, even people passing by say answers are hard to find.
“Something should be done, but I don't know what can be done,” one woman says.
DPR says they’ve added signs indicating parks are a drug-free zone and overnight camping is not allowed.