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Salinas Police see increase in number of homeless services calls

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV): A fire ignited just behind the KION news station Sunday afternoon. Salinas police said they could not confirm whether the man in the video was homeless, although they believe he was.

Salinas Acting Chief of Police John Murray said that the Salinas Fire Department responded to the fire.

Murray also said they've been receiving an uptick in calls for homeless incidents, and it has been going on for years.

"Depending on the time of year, that number can fluctuate between 200-400 calls for service a month." said Salinas Acting Chief of Police, John Murray.

Murray said that number has dropped within the last month, estimating around 285 calls for homeless incidents that took place just last month. He also said responding to every community call is important to them, but when it comes to homeless incidents, each one takes time.

"A call can range to 10 minutes, or it can take two hours, depending on the severity of the call or investigation." said Murray.

Murray said the homeless community needs more support and resources, and he also said when they respond to homeless incidents, they work together with the Salinas Outreach Team that provides resources and help to the homeless.

"Homelessness is a humanitarian issue and it's going to require solution," said Murray. "Law enforcement and policing is just a component of our response."

Salinas police said they're investigating if the fire was arson or not. Salinas Fire Department was able to quickly extinguish the fire behind our news station, but was unavailable for comment when we reached out today.

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Nataly Gutierrez


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