By Melissa Garcia
DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver business owner is considering moving his business out of the Curtis Park neighborhood after what he called a “frightening” encounter with a homeless person. Jawaid Bazyar, president and an owner of FORETHOUGHT.net said that he and his employees have dealt with ongoing harassment and violence at the hands of area transients.
Bazyar began recording cellphone video after he arrived at work around 8 a.m. Friday to find a homeless encampment blocking the front doorway of his business on Curtis Street near Park Avenue West.
“Who wants to … my customers or delivery people or anyone, who’s going to want to try to cross that?” Bazyar asked. “People coming in from out of the area are going to look at that and be terrified.”
When he asked the urban campers to leave, Bazyar said that one man, seen on camera, came up close to the door in a threatening manner, began cussing and flipping him off, and tried to pick a fight.
“It was just frightening,” Bazyar told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “It’s a dangerous situation for us to have to be in.”
The business owner called police but said that officers’ hands were tied.
“I don’t think (business owners) should have to be the ones to wade into a potentially dangerous situation,” he said. “(The potential for violence) is definitely getting worse.”
After six years of being located in the Curtis Park neighborhood and millions of dollars of investment into his business, Bazyar said he is considering relocation.
Denver police were not able to comment on Friday’s incident but said that officers handle calls on a case-by-case basis. A DPD spokesperson said that everyone, homeless or not, has the right to be in public places. Police clarified, however, that a city ordinance makes it illegal to block the entrance or exit of a business. The spokesperson said that if someone feels threatened, he or she should call police. Officials also said that the department’s community resource personnel is willing to meet with any business or community member who feels threatened.
A Denver Public Works spokesperson said that city employees work every day to keep the rights of way clear. DPW planned to look into the issue in the upcoming week.