An island just off Broadway in downtown Missoula has been closed temporarily for what authorities call 'proactive policing.'.

Crime Prevention Officer with the Missoula Police Department, Rob Scheben, said the area has been used for years as transient camps and for illegal drug use.

photo by Peter Christian

"It's about proactive or problem-solving policing," Scheben said. "What we're seeing on this island is a lot of non-legitimate users and it's primarily for illegal camping, alcohol consumption and open container violations. We're trying to change behaviors so that we can get more legitimate users, such as people walking their dogs or going fishing and that they'll feel safe and use the area more."

Scheben said the police department is working with Missoula Parks and Recreation and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency in cleaning up the island so that it will no longer be used for illegal purposes.

photo by Peter Christian

"We're hoping to finish the clean-up and restoration work in about two months and have the area open again by the first part of May," Scheben said.

In a news release, the city stated:

Population is increasing in Missoula’s Westside neighborhood. Generally, as population density increases, so does crime. Because of this change in dynamics, the Missoula Police Department is taking the initiative by applying proactive crime prevention techniques to the area.