DENVER -- Issues of violence on Denver’s 16th Street Mall brought to light by the FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers resulted in change Monday. At a news conference, the city’s top leaders said they’re going to increase safety measures on the popular strip.
The turning point came after the Problem Solvers aired a video showing so-called "travelers" attacking a man who works downtown. Police refer to out-of-state panhandlers as "travelers," noting a huge difference between them and the homeless.
“It made me sick to my stomach because that’s not who we are in Denver,” Mayor Michael Hancock said.
Parts of the new safety plan discussed Monday include:
- The Downtown Denver Partnership said it hired a security manager to address safety issues on the 16th Street Mall
- Permits will be required for activities in select alleys attached to the mall
- Denver police added more officers to patrol the mall
- A police officer will be permanently assigned to problem blocks, notably the 400-900 blocks
The new security manager who was hired to address safety issues on the mall is Eugene Wade. For the past three years, Wade was the manager of security operations for the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
“Having looked at the plan, it’s very comprehensive. And I’m very excited to be chosen to lead the implementation of all the steps of that,” Wade said.
Police have 20 full-time officers dedicated to 16th Street as well as five other officers who walk it. On Monday, the city said it would increase the number to 16.
On top of that, Wade plans to hire a private security team to assist with the mall’s issues. It’s unclear how many officers will be on that team.
“We’re in the final stages of hiring a security company and we’re going to be going off of their recommendations,” Wade said.
The security team is expected to be in place by late July.