DENVER -- In North Downtown, the Ballpark neighborhood, business owners said drug dealers are preying on the homeless, who gather around Samaritan House and the Denver Rescue Mission.
“We have drug deals going on all times of day and night,” said Val Moore who works at Ireland’s Finest. “Our sidewalks are packed with homeless people since Triangle Park was fenced off, and when the drug dealers also gather to sell to the homeless, and anyone else who comes by, our parking areas are not safe. All of us carry mace and often have to call police just to get to our cars after work.”
Police said they have stepped up patrols and are doing undercover buys, but business owners said those efforts are having little success.
DPD indicated they will do what they can to curb crime, but neighbors have requested foot patrols to keeps folks moving instead of sleeping and hanging out in front of area shops and stores.
Wyn Farrell, who owns and is moving to 2201 Lawrence Street, said in his new building he has to "run the gauntlet" just to get inside the building with investors, clients and family members.
“It is just not right that we have to go through a crowd of people begging for money and yelling jibberish at us," said Farrell. "We feel so afraid we have to call police to get out of the building."
He continued, “I’ve learned the Rescue Mission is planning to expand the size of their facility south toward his new business.”
One owner told FOX31 Denver the homeless have been getting bus tickets from other areas to the Mile High City.
“They are told services for homeless are way better in Denver,” said the owner.
When asked what can be done, Moore said, “I think, sadly enough, it’s going to take someone getting raped, attacked or beaten to get people to open their eyes.”
Farrell added, “When people come into town, they come in by the ball park, then hit Broadway only to see all of the dirt and filth left behind by those people camping out right in the middle of downtown.”
With not long until "play ball" is declared from Coors Field, the area business owners and residents expressed the hope that something can be done before anyone is seriously hurt.