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DENVER — The ACLU is criticizing the city of Denver for cracking down on criminal transients the police call “travelers.”

Mayor Michael Hancock announced a new security plan after FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers showed videos of people being assaulted on the 16th Street Mall.

RELATED: Full coverage of 16th Street Mall security issues

But the ACLU sent a letter to the mayor’s office on Wednesday, saying the city is going too far and violating civil rights of the homeless.

“Criminalizing homelessness, sweeping away homeless people doesn’t solve the homeless problem and that’s what we need to put our emphasis on,” ACLU spokeswoman Denise Maes said.

The ACLU said it’s one thing to arrest people for assault and illegal drug use. But it disagrees with police enforcing ordinances that prohibit leaning against private businesses and blocking sidewalks.

Denver leaders point out the city spent $40 million on homeless-related services last year and will spend even more this year.