Residents of Union Station working to cleanup neighborhood amid crime spike

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Posted at 9:42 AM, Nov 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-07 11:58:45-05

DENVER — People living in and around the Union Station area are worried they are losing their neighborhood to rampant crime and they are trying to take it back.

The bright lights of downtown Denver are being drowned out by blue and red ones around Union Station.

"It’s not what we signed up for," said Billy Kurz.

Kurz is a longtime Denver resident. He and his wife moved out of the suburbs and into a Lower Downtown condo three years ago.

"I moved into the LoDo area to be closer to where all the action is," he said.

The action he’s seeing now isn’t what he was hoping for.

"There's pretty rampant drug use, nudity down here. You have to really pick your spots where you are going to be," said Kurz.

Lori Greenly has worked in the Union Station neighborhood for three decades and recently made it home.

It’s different today than it was a few years ago," Greenly said.

Year to date, the Denver Police Department reported 2,147 crimes in the Union Station neighborhood. In 2020, that number was 1,711.

"Since there are less people working, there are more people doing bad things, and unfortunately they’re not facing consequences for their actions," explains Kurz.

Kurz and Greenly partly blame recognizance bonds which allow the person arrested to get out of jail without exchanging money.

"For us to be safe and compassionate we have to look out for those who need help," Kurz said.

To help with safety, neighbors have organized dog walks. They also come to Wewatta Pavillion twice a week to clean up the area. Kurz says they are working with the district attorney's office in hopes of getting more convictions out of offenders.

The group also started a petition.

The group also started a petition.