Leveraging the expertise of community partners for a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to manage the city’s public spaces

Camping and unsafe behavior impact the work of multiple city departments and require partnership and joint efforts to achieve positive outcomes. In April 2021, Boulder’s City Council approved a pilot program to formulize this coordinated effort, the Safe and Managed Public Spaces (SAMPS) team. The team’s mission is to ensure that public spaces are safe and welcoming for all. Guided by compassion and a people-focused approach, the work of the SAMPS team reflects a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach that leverages expertise of community partners to manage the city’s public spaces.

Library underpass skate area

Library underpass skate area.

2023 Safe and Managed Public Spaces

The Safe and Managed Public Spaces (SAMPS) team's mission is to ensure that public spaces are safe and welcoming for all. The team's goals drive a compassionate approach with residents who are camping while ensuring that the city's ordinances are enforced.

Eight Long-Term Goals

This work is guided through eight long-term and aspirational goals. These goals drive a compassionate approach with people who are camping while ensuring that the city’s ordinances are enforced.

The team continues to focus on the actions identified in the 2023 Action Plan PDF that address the strategies included in the table below. Additionally, the SAMPS team routinely evaluates approaches and resources needed to respond effectively to evolving challenges and changing situations and will adapt as needed as the work progresses.

Goal 1: No camping in public spaces

  • Increase efficiency of clean-up operations.
  • Broaden geographic Footprint of Campsite Clean-Ups.

Goal 2: Individuals experiencing homelessness are connected to services

  • Understand personal property-related barriers to accessing services.
  • Ensure connections to services are as efficient and effective as possible.
  • Mitigate impacts of service limitations resulting in staffing turnover inherent to the type of work being done.
  • Improve connections, data sharing and communication between SAMPS team members.

Goal 3: Access to public space and public infrastructure

  • Evaluate programs and practices that ensure the provision of access to public space and infrastructure.
  • Establish criteria for identifying areas which require immediate response due to acute life/safety issues or access to public buildings.

Goal 4: Reduction in crime and disorder in designated areas of emphasis

  • Evaluate Historical Patterns of Crime and Disorder in Designated Areas of Emphasis.
  • Maintain Police Support in Designated Areas.

Goal 5: Visitors have access to knowledgeable resources on city services

  • Fully Implement Urban Park Ranger Program.
  • Increase Scope of Downtown Ambassador Program.
  • Improve SAMPS Team Knowledge Base for Visitor Requests/Questions

Goal 6: Maintenance crews can safely access critical infrastructure in public spaces

  • Ensure that Crews are Aware of and are Monitoring Critical Public Infrastructure.
  • Explore Methods to Improve Measurement of Barriers to Safe Access.
  • Identify Methods to Improve Worker Safety in Parks and Public Spaces.

Goal 7: Waterways are free of contamination

  • Reduce Trash/Hazards in Waterways.
  • Maintain Stable or Reduce E. Coli Trends, Especially During Recreation Season (May – Oct.) with the Recognition that There are Many Sources of Contamination in Boulder Creek.

Goal 8: Users of public spaces feel safe and welcoming

  • Improve Information Sharing on “Designated Areas of Emphasis”, and Crime/Calls for Service (CFS) Data for Those Areas.
  • Continue to Improve Site Activation.
  • Investigate Ways to Change Prioritization Rubric to Highlight High Visibility Areas.
  • Improve Compliance with Debris/Needle Disposal.