Letter to the Editor

Homeless raise safety issues

Sunday, August 3, 2008

To the editor:

With one homeless person already being found dead in Cape Girardeau, many of us are wondering what city officials are doing about the rest of them. While fishing at Capaha Park with my grandchildren, I realized that there are no fewer than four homeless people using the park as their base of operation. I counted one woman and three men. One of them even approached us and asked us to give him the fish we catch so he could eat, yet he was carrying a six-pack of beer with him. Because of his actions I was forced to cancel our family outing, feeling uncomfortable with my grandchildren around.

I'm quite sure that there are many people who truly need our help, and I am willing to offer any assistance that is within my resources, However, there is also a criminal element that goes hand in hand with the homeless, and that is what our city officials need to be concerned with. You can't throw someone in jail because they ask you for help, but we can't turn our backs on the panhandlers and thieves working in our parks and shopping centers. My concern is that Cape Girardeau has already decided to sweep this problem under the carpet. There is no reason that someone should feel threatened or intimidated while trying to enjoy our city parks with their loved ones.

ROBERT F. SUMNER, Cape Girardeau