HAGERSTOWN, Md. - In the past two and a half years, at least three bodies have been found in the woods on CSX Railroad property in Hagerstown.
Hagerstown City Police say illegal homeless camps have been a big part of this problem, and they've been set up repeatedly about a quarter mile into the woods, near West Antietam Street and South Burhans Boulevard.
Residents say there are visibly more homeless people in town than ever before.
"More people are looking like they're in need, and it's the economy, it's scary," said Krista Wolfensberger, Hagerstown resident.
At the same time, many feel crime has gone up in the area, which police say may or may not be related to increased homelessness."I don't feel as safe as I used to. I used to run through the park at night, I'm kind of hesitant now. It's not the same Hagerstown that I grew up in; I've been here 45 years, and it's just not the same Hagerstown," said Wolfensberger.
CSX declined an interview but issued a statement saying, "CSX continues to work with the city of Hagerstown and its police department to ensure the safety of CSX employees and the public in Hagerstown. CSX Police and City Police are actively patrolling the area in an attempt to reduce the issues associated with the homeless people on and near the railroad property."
Since finding a dead man in the woods back in June, police say new signs have been put up and they haven't arrested anyone else in conjunction to these deaths or homeless camps.
"The last time we went out, we went out at night-time to make sure that no one was sleeping or camping out back there, and there was nobody there," said Lt. Rebecca Fetchu, with the Hagerstown Police Department.
Police also say they're not aware of any other homeless camps in and around Hagerstown, and crime is reported to be "normal" in the former homeless camp area. Either way, locals are fed up with crime and want a greater police presence."It is becoming worse off because of people losing their jobs, but we do have more crime coming in from outer areas, you know, from the bigger cities. We need to put an end to it," said Wolfensberger.