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Denver councilman calls for increased police patrols near encampments as businesses struggle

21 and Broadway homeless encampments
Posted at 10:58 AM, Sep 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-01 14:57:41-04

DENVER — A Denver council member is balancing compassion with a crisis in regards to the growing number of incidents at homeless encampments around 21st Street and Broadway.

Newly elected Denver District 9 Councilman Darrell Watson said Denver has a housing crisis — something that is far from new.

"This did not occur on July 16, when we swore in a mayor and six new council members," he said. "This has been something that is ongoing and one of the things we are trying to do, and as a city councilperson that I am committed to doing, is to lower or reduce the number of folks who are living and dying in these unsheltered encampments throughout the city, and specifically, here in District 9."

Denver councilman calls for increased police patrols near encampments as businesses struggle

Watson said, through the executive order, the councilmembers and mayor have demonstrated great compassion for those struggling on the streets. At the same time, police must enforce the criminal code within the city, Watson added.

"I do not believe our compassion is boundless," he said. "I think that compassion for our community has to extend to the neighbors and the neighborhood surrounding these encampments."

These issues have also impacted several businesses, who are concerned about keeping their doors open, as Denver7 previously reported.

A growing list of downtown Denver businesses say their sales are in a downward spiral because of a growing line of homeless encampments surrounding them on almost all sides now.


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Revenue losses mount for downtown Denver businesses surrounded by encampments

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“They’re scared,” Danny Newman, owner of Mercury Café at the corner of 22nd and California streets, told Denver7 previously. “They’re uncomfortable. It’s hard to get people motivated to walk through that.”

“There is no direct way to park and get to our entrance without walking through a homeless encampment right now,” added Scott Coors, owner of Triangle Bar on Broadway.

broadway encampment.jpg

Local News

Downtown Denver businesses report 40% dip in sales as encampments engulf block

Russell Haythorn
5:55 PM, Aug 16, 2023

The British Bulldog on Stout and Broadway has been in the area for more than 100 years. It has the oldest liquor license for an operating business in the district, Watson said.

"They have communicated to me several times that they most likely cannot make it another six months," he said. "They most likely will close if there's no direct action that is being taken."

That could look like a lot of different things, but Watson explained there are ongoing discussions with the local businesses and District 6.

"It is time for Denver police to continue to increase their patrols, increase their engagement with businesses and with residents to make sure folks who are calling 911, calling asking for help, they get the help that they deserve and that they need."

He said he doesn't believe small businesses in the area are being heard.

"I intend to continue fighting and pushing for their voices to be heard," he said.


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