A spokesman for the Cheyenne Police Department says homeless people in Cheyenne commit fewer crimes against permanent residents than people think.

Officer Kevin Malatesta says people think homeless people in Cheyenne often commit "burglaries, larcenies, and sex assaults, and those type of things. And that's really just not the case."

Malatesta says transients are often cited for public intoxication and for fighting.

But he says the fights usually are between transients, rather than transients fighting with other people. Malatesta says the idea that transients commit a lot of crimes "is mostly a perception issue."

He says they have "the look that we associate with crime." But he adds "It's not illegal to be transient."

Police Chief Brian Kozak says his department will be working proactively with other agencies in 2017 "to get these people off the street and take them somewhere to help them, hopefully."

He says that will be a joint effort with organizations including the Comea Shelter, Peak Wellness and the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority.

The chief says the hope is that by offering help to homeless people the cost of jailing them can be reduced. He says his department is currently spending about $800 a day on housing transients.

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