Scared to go outside: Some downtown Denver residents say crime is growing along with homelessness

Posted at 9:07 PM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 01:09:01-04

DENVER -- Some residents in Five Points, who live near the Denver Rescue Mission, say they feel like prisoners in their own homes because of rising crime and an increase in homeless population just outside their front doors.

“It’s dangerous out here. Flat out dangerous,” Beth Hutchinson told Denver7 .

Hutchinson has been living in her apartment on Broadway and Arapahoe for eight years, but says recently it’s not just the number of homeless that’s increasing. It’s the amount of crime.

“Stabbings, shootings, people getting beaten up. There were shots fired the other night,” she said.

The Denver Police crime map online shows what Hutchinson is talking about. In just 2018, there were multiple aggravated assaults, arrests for drugs and alcohol, and a variety of other crimes (some of those were violent).

Her neighbor, Kenny Borrego, felt it firsthand.

“Next thing I know, I caught a beating,” he said. “I got stomped on, kicked on, and received a broken ankle.”

But he says the assault didn't come at the hands of someone sleeping in a tent across the street.

“It wasn’t homeless people, it was a few gang members,” he said.

“I don’t think this is a homeless issue. I think this is a different problem and they need to be addressed by the city in a different way,” Beth Hutchinson added.

Denver City Council President Albus Brooks agreed.

“What you’re seeing and what people are experiencing is travelers who are living on the streets but they travel through our city,” he said.

The Denver Rescue Mission and surrounding blocks are part of Brooks’ district.

“Our District 6 DPD police is focusing on that,” he added.

Brooks argued that while these “travelers” are causing the problems, the city is working and succeeding at housing the chronically homeless. He says the city has built 6,000 homes or apartments since 2011 to house people and families that were living on the street.

“I think we’ve done well. We’ve got to do a lot more,” Brooks said.