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Police have issued far more citations for illegal camping, loitering and disorderly conduct this year than last. In all of 2013, police wrote 12 citations, compared with 31 in the first 11 weeks of this year.

Next month, COTS will participate in a countywide "vulnerability index survey" of homeless residents with the hope of cataloging the most at-risk people living on the streets.

"We'll try to build a picture of how many vulnerable people we have out there: those who if they don't get into a shelter quickly would die out in the street," Johnson said. "This is a huge step in the right direction in trying to save people's lives."

(You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com.)