ARLINGTON, Wash. - Neighbors at Highland View Estates said a group of three people have been camping out in a wooded area behind homes, leading to drugs and other activity in the area.
Behind Jon Storms' house you can find evidence of campers. Makeshift trails weave throughout the wooded area. There's a tarp set up and litter on the ground. Sunday afternoon, Storms' son found a homemade pipe near the tarp.
Neighbors reported to police that they have seen a woman and two men in the area over the course of the last six months. Officers have been out several times to investigate. With resources stretched thin, officers cannot search the area for the unwanted guests every time there's a sighting.
Nervous residents have decided to try a new tactic. Working in groups, they have been patrolling the woods and trying to chase the group away.
"I'm to the point where I am willing to get hurt, do whatever I need to protect myself, the kids, just to make these guys go away," said Storms.
Arlington Police spokesperson Kristin Banfield said that neighbors patrolling the area is too risky. She said residents need to report any incidents to police and not put themselves in danger. Officers are investigating the camper complaints, as well as two recent reports of squatters taking over houses in the neighborhood.