Watch CBS News

'We Can't Rely On The Police For Help': Denver Business Owner Feels 'Under Siege'

DENVER (CBS4)- When Jawaid Bazyar bought an 8,000 square foot building north of downtown Denver in 2012 for his telecommunications business, he knew coping with homelessness would be an issue, given the location. At 2347 Curtis Street, his building was adjacent to a homeless shelter.

BUSINESS CRIME DANGERS 6PKG.transfer_frame_785
(credit: CBS)

But he said in recent months, the crowd that regularly gathered in front of his business,, took on a much different feel.

"This block is lawless and the criminals know it and act with impunity. They are not stable. They can get angry... there are shoving matches and shouting matches every day. It's a whole different vibe," said Bazyar, "Angry and violent on a regular basis here."

He blames the violence on drug use and drug dealing that he says takes place on the sidewalk and street in front of his business. And he says frequent calls for police help have not made much of a difference.

"They know they can sit here and do what they want without getting hassled," said Bazyar.

He shared video from earlier this week that showed a man and woman engaged in a fistfight on the sidewalk in front of his business which then led to a gunshot. Nobody appeared to be hit. He said he contacted the Denver Police Department about what happened but there was not much response.

"I just don't feel like the city is taking this seriously. I don't feel like the police are standing behind us as law-abiding citizens who have a right to be safe in this community."

BUSINESS CRIME DANGERS 6PKG.transfer_frame_1547
(credit: Jawaid Bazyar)

He said two to three weeks ago a woman, who said she had a gun, attempted to carjack his wife behind the building with their daughter in the car.

"It was horrifying. If she had gotten in the car she would have kidnapped our daughter."

On another occasion, someone attacked and tried to stab one of his employees behind the building. Bazyar said he and his employees no longer feel safe and he has purchased a gun that he keeps at work.

"The city's first responsibility should be public safety and it seems like the last thing they're interested in. It's a serious problem," he reiterated. "We don't feel like police have our back and we don't fault them. We can't rely on the police for help."

The business owner expressed skepticism about Mayor Michael Hancock's newly unveiled plan to combat rising crime rates.

"These issues have been serious and growing for years. Unsurprising that finally, the mayor is talking about this," said Bazyar. "The problem is that if you let homeless and drug dealers own the street, violence is the inevitable result. The solution to my mind is not letting criminal elements aggregate in public, get cocky, and have this inevitably turn violent over time."

BUSINESS CRIME DANGERS 6PKG.transfer_frame_259
(credit: CBS)

Although Bazyar has been dismayed at the response to his 911 calls, a January email showed police giving preliminary approval to placing a camera near the telecommunications business.

"This area," said Bazyar, "is simply unsafe, and it is unsafe every single day."

UPDATE: The Denver Police Department responded with this update the day after the story was published: "Charise Richards, DOB 5/26/1991, is being held for investigation of possession of a weapon by a previous offender, parole violation, and warrants. Additionally, District Six officers are reaching out to that business owner."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.