Just recently I was visiting one of my children in Denver, Colorado. What a beautiful city. Just look to the west and there as far as the eyes can see are the Rocky Mountains (snow capped even in the spring!). The city is a nice blend of tall modern buildings and plenty of green parks, bike trails, creeks and a river throughout. It is normally a very nice walk from our child’s apartment to the main downtown shopping district (16th street). My wife and I have noticed a homeless problem in the past, but it was far more evident this time.
This time, while we were eating our lunch in a park, minding our own business, three police cars drove up to us, lights flashing! I thought to myself, “they are really carrying this corona virus thing way too far…are they going to tell us to wear a mask?” Nope. They asked us, “have you seen a woman with a bloody face being chased by a man with a knife?” WHAT?
“No officer, we just sat down here to eat about five minutes ago.” They went on to interview other people, the vast majority of whom were homeless. While we continued to eat (nervously now) we were accosted by a homeless man who continuously hurled profane insults at the police and at us. It turns out that just across the street, across from a beautiful clock tower, was a “homeless community” that had
pitched their tents there…right on 16th street (the main shopping area). I had already been warned not to go to the park in front of city hall or the state capitol building…that park had already been
overtaken by hundreds of homeless in their tents.
The police found the woman who had been stabbed over in the homeless community on 16th street and treated her. As far as we knew they did not find the perpetrator.
We got up and left and walked around to the train station and some other nice “touristy” areas on that side of Denver. Wherever we went, we noticed an increasing presence of homeless, either just wandering
around, some begging (some begged from me personally), and others just passed out in their tents or nearby.
I thought about how San Francisco was when I visited that city in 1987, and I made a prediction that if Denver did not address this issue soon, Denver would tragically turn into what San Francisco is today.
Is there an example we can follow to address this issue of vagrants taking over cities? Is there a humane yet firm example of a city not enabling the homeless, but actually helping them and at the same time cleaning up a city and reducing its homeless population? I think there is, but I’ll have to do some more research.