Homeless vanish after 'Tweakerville' cameras start rolling

A homeless camp dubbed "Tweakerville" - where dealers and addicts mixed with immunity - was exposed on YouTube. Now it's gone, but where did it go?

It has been seen in 176 different countries and raised eyebrows from England to Everett.

Now, though, viewership for the YouTube sensation known as TweakerCam have dropped off considerably.

"We have 1.5 million people very upset with us," said Gary Watts. "They want us to find entertainment for them. We're just tickled to death that it's very boring."

Fed up with a homeless camp that has plagued his neighborhood for years, Watts recently set up HD video cameras outside his Everett business and started live streaming the video online.  

They captured grim images of people shooting up in broad daylight.

About a month later, that very same street corner dubbed "Tweakerville" is a ghost town.

"It's like Christmas coming," said Watts. "Can you imagine fighting something for years and then all at once in a matter of two or three days you see the place clean up almost totally?"

Since the cameras went up, police arrested 16 people between Smith Avenue and Clark Park.

The dealers seem to have disappeared, but where did the dozens of others go?

"We're not sure," said Watts, "but we're hoping they went to one of these fine cities around us that will give them a safe place to make their injections, and provide them with better food and health care."

Related: Everett sign reads 'Welcome to Tweakerville'

"They are not going down to Seattle, because you can inject," said Sylvia Anderson, CEO of the Everett Gospel Mission.

The homeless and addicted have all moved to the nearby riverbank where they are out of sight and out of mind, according to Anderson.

"This will not solve the problem," she said. "Humiliating people has never been a successful tactic in changing behaviors. In fact, it will alienate them even more and keep them from getting help."

An Everett police spokesman said the cameras and the publicity they've generated were not the impetus for the recent sweeps, but the department values cooperation from the public. Officer Aaron Snell said the department will continue its normal patrols and predicted the camps will likely return sooner or later.

By midday Tuesday a small handful of homeless were creeping back close to the corner outside Watts' business.

Watts said he plans to keep the intensity high and the cameras rolling.

© 2017 KING-TV


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