Capitol Hill residents fencing off parkways to keep homeless away from properties

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Worlds are colliding in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Homeless encampments are popping up right outside million-dollar homes.

Michael Beckley is one of a growing number of homeowners who are taking matters into their own hands, trying to keep tents from appearing in the parkways in front of their streets.

“It’s brutal, because it will effectively kill the grass. When the first tent showed up here, I fenced it off and said you f—— aren’t coming up here,” Beckley said.

Fences can now be seen roping off parkways throughout the neighborhood. The action is legal, according to the city, because homeowners are required to maintain and care for the parkways adjacent to their homes.

Many homeowners are convinced the homeless encampments will lead to a spike in neighborhood crime, especially thefts in the neighborhood.

Orange plastic fencing along a parkway
Fencing lines a parkway in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood on July 2, 2021, where residents are trying to keep homeless encampments away. (KDVR)

“Even with them not camping in front of my house, they stole everything. They went over the fence into my courtyard and got rakes, shovels and hand tools. They also went over the fence across the street and went into a neighbor’s shed and got a brand new bicycle,” Beckley said.

The City of Denver has conducted more than 50 homeless sweeps just this year. Advocates believe that is forcing more people out of downtown and into neighborhoods like Cap Hill.

“They’re up to three sweeps a week. They fence off large city blocks,” said Benjamin Dunning, with Denver Homeless Out Loud.

FOX31 spoke with a homeless man named Andrew who said that has made life even more difficult for him than it already was.

“When we leave, people get really violent. They come at you with a lot of aggression, because they don’t want to be the next one with someone camping outside their house,” Andrew said.

Because of that, tensions are rising. Homeowners like Beckley are taking action, determined to keep the homeless out of Capitol Hill and off his little strip of parkway.

“I was just waiting ever yday with my cricket bat to see if one tent came, and if it did the cricket bat was going at the tent,” Beckley said.

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