The problem of homeless in Grand Junction goes beyond what you see inside the city limits.

It's hard to look at the photos in this post and not be disturbed by what you see. The question I have to ask is this. Which is the bigger problem - the homeless or homelessness itself? I'm afraid there is no easy answer.

Mesa County Sheriff's Office
Mesa County Sheriff's Office
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The problem of homelessness is most evidently seen in Grand Junction when you drive down North Avenue or past Whitman Park. The fact is, the problem is much bigger than what we can see on the surface.

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Did You Know About This Illegal Homeless Camp?

This week the Mesa County Sheriff's Office along with Mesa County Code Enforcement took a professional clean-up crew to a large homeless camp in the area between 32 1/2 Road and C 1/2 Road. There's a good chance you didn't even know it was there.

Google Maps
Google Maps
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Seven Illegal Camps Found Along the River

According to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, seven "very large illegal camps" are located at the bottom of a steep quarter-mile trail with thick brush and overgrown trees. Items at the camp include tents, furniture, bicycles, BBQ grills, numerous propane bottles, along with large amounts of trash, human waste, and other hazardous materials. We don't know how many people have been living in these camps.

Mesa County Sheriff's Office
Mesa County Sheriff's Office
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Deputies Spend Significant Time Regulating Illegal Camping

Prior to the cleanup efforts, deputies had reportedly visited the camps on several occasions, instructing those present to remove their belongings from the illegal campsites. The MCSO says historically deputies spend a significant amount of time regulating illegal camping. That includes checking known camp locations, ensuring the welfare of the occupants, and providing resources that are available.

Mesa County Sheriff's Office
Mesa County Sheriff's Office
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There's No Easy Answer to Grand Junction's Homeless Problem

Grand Junction isn't the only community dealing with homelessness. It happens everywhere and there are no easy answers. We have many resources in the Grand Valley to help the homeless population like Homeward Bound and Catholic Outreach. These and other organizations provide essentials like food, clothing, job search assistance, and shelter. There is definitely help available for those that want it - yet homelessness remains.

Grand Junction and Western Colorado Law Enforcement - Robert Grant Photos

Enjoy a short gallery of former Grand Junction and Mesa County law enforcement officers. All photos by Robert Grant.

WHOA: Take a Look at Grand Junction's Weirdest Street Names

If you're driving through Grand Junction, you may think to yourself, "Wow! That's a strange street name." Don't worry, we've all done that.

We asked our audience what some of the strange street names are around Grand Junction, and their replies didn't disappoint.

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