Opinion

Commentary: Homeless still have rights

Let's keep this as simple as possible.

Should Anchorage police be able to shut down homeless camps on public property?

Yes. Public health and public safety demand that police or other responsible authorized parties be able to give notice and then dismantle and clean up sites that become unhealthy, unsightly or dangerous either to the public at large or the people living in them.

Anchorage residents shouldn't have to put up with threats, aggressive panhandling, obnoxious behavior or unsanitary conditions in our parks or on our trails, nor should random concentrations of alcoholism and its attendant miseries be an accepted part of our city's landscape.

Should homeless people living in such camps still retain rights to their property and due process of law afforded to all citizens by the Constitution?

Yes. Homelessness takes much away from people, but does not take away people's fundamental rights. And Anchorage, like any other society, must judge itself in part by how it treats its least fortunate and most afflicted citizens, even those whose wounds are self-inflicted.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.adn.com.

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