DENVER — Heroin use and drug deals are happening out in the open on the Cherry Creek trail. And the people forced to see and deal with it say it’s becoming more of a problem.
On Saturday afternoon, a shooting on the trail near downtown left one person injured and three suspects on the run. Dozens of other people are now questioning what’s happening on the path that runs through the city.
It’s the entrance to a pathway, a lifestyle for many in Denver. But just like the trails split along Speer Boulevard between Stout Street and Colfax Avenue, so too, does the direction of the people using it.
The FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers took a hidden camera on the trail and within seconds, a photographer was approached by several men.
“You Looking? You Looking?” one asked, referring to drugs.
“Trying to pick up?” another said, wondering how much he might want to buy.
“How much you need bro?” the man asked with no response from the photographer.
The hidden video shows what’s happening is as quick as a handshake, as bold as a dealer directly asking if we were looking for drugs and as transparent as a drug needle being pulled out and shot up.
“It makes me uncomfortable,” runner Joanne Begg said.
“You’re aware of them, very,” said bike rider Jack Green of the groups using and dealing drugs along the ramps and pathway.
“I see a lot of people that look like they are homeless, buying drugs from each other, pretty much on a daily basis,” Begg said.
It’s becoming more of a problem for runners like Begg.
“I’ve never seen anyone be arrested for it. I’ve never see a cop out here,” she said.
The Denver Police Department had no comment. For some, when two different lifestyles converge on the path, it can be scary.
“That’s going to discourage people. It should discourage people. You’re concerned for your safety,” Green said.
Now, he said, something has to give.
“It’s an intractable problem. What do you do?” Green asked.
In October, a needle disposal kiosk was set up on the trail near Colfax Avenue and Speer Boulevard. That’s where the hidden cameras were Monday. It was placed there because of an alarming amount of needles being found on the path.
A spokeswoman for Denver Environmental Health said 300 syringes have been collected so far. They are looking into if it decreased the number of discarded needles left for people to step on.
She also said halo cameras were installed at the same time. Police are looking into statistics regarding drug arrests in the area.