CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - It's a problem some Chicopee residents say is only getting worse: people who set up tent communities in the city.
As temperatures get warmer, tent communities are growing larger and residents who live near these tent communities, like the one in Chicopee, say it's not going unnoticed.
"They cross through our yards, they're not very respectful," said one woman who didn't want to be identified.
The 22News I-Team first investigated tent communities this winter and found many homeless people try to keep out of the way, but Chicopee's Joel Bonilla and other residents say that's no longer the case here, and asked 22News to give it another look after they heard fighting this weekend.
"Personally, I don't know if they have weapons, I don't know if they have guns or sticks. I don't know if they're violent or anything like that. I have seen them arguing on a constant basis but to me that's a little dangerous, you don't know if they can bring a fight up here. Throw bottles, it's not a safe environment," Bonilla said.
The I-Team went down to see for ourselves and found there are different people living there now, who aren't as welcoming.
Another person didn't want to be identified but told us there has been fighting. "Yeah there was a fight down here last night, the cops were down here," he said.
We also found a sign threatening to shoot anyone who trespasses. That's when we took our findings to Chicopee Police.
Captain Jeffrey Gawron said they made an arrest there just last Friday, but after hearing what residents have told 22News, they'll be going back.
"This is the first I've heard about it and the police department has heard about it and we'll be addressing it immediately," Capt. Gawron said.
Capt. Gawron says the homeless are allowed to pitch tents on public land as long as they don't cause problems.
Residents say they sympathize with the situation but worry about it getting worse. "We're concerned about our kids and the kind of environment that's starting to go on down there."
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