Cheyenne police say homeless camps have been a problem in the capital city for years, and they're costing taxpayers thousands.

"It stinks and it's nasty and unsanitary," Officer David Inman said of the camps. "We've been doing this clean out where we'll go from time to time and let them know, 'Hey, get your stuff out, you're trespassing, or you're going to lose it because the city's going to come clean it out.'"

Police say so far this year, the city has spent $18,868 cleaning up the camps. They say each cleanup involves coordinating multiple city departments, and in special cases, hiring contractors and acquiring insurance policies.

"The piling up gets bad to where there's like couches and clothes and food and everything else," said Inman. "It's a mess ... Not only that, they urinate, they defecate, it's a lot of stuff."

The cleanups have led to claims that the police are harassing homeless people and taking their belongings, but Inman says property is only confiscated after a warning is provided or an arrest is made.

"We're not just taking homeless people's stuff without cause," said Inman. "It's because they're trespassing. They're not supposed to be camping under there."

"We have programs to help these people," he added. "COMEA works with them, but they have to be willing to get the help and some of them don't."

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