Hostile Transients Are Becoming a Huge Problem in Old Town
With the location of the Fort Collins Rescue Mission, it's not surprising to have transients hanging around nearby in the surrounding areas of Old Town. But many locals are becoming increasingly concerned, not only about the amount of homeless people begging for money, food, and shelter, but also those who are acting extremely violent towards each other, or hostile towards innocent people passing by.
A recent thread on the Fort Collins Neighborhood Watch Facebook page began with a Fort Collins resident asking if anyone else had experienced a hostile encounter with a panhandling transient in Old Town, and further stated that he had been attacked three times in the last month. The attacks were described as physical, and involved things like being pushed off his bike, being followed and then pushed into a dumpster area, and getting punched in the head for not giving a man money. He claims to have called 911 each time, but that police told him that for them to do something would be violating the transients' rights. Many other citizens chimed in with their own recent experiences, and in my opinion, it's pretty sad that so many Fort Collins residents now feel so uncomfortable and unsafe in Old Town due to these hostile homeless people. From pulling out knives on each other to verbal assaults and fist fights, there are lots of accounts from people who have witnessed transients acting overly aggressive in the Old Town area. One member of the group stated that she felt very uncomfortable after a homeless women asked if she could sleep on her porch, another said she hears so many threats she's now afraid to walk her dog down her own street, and another even said that police warned her and a co-worker not to walk to their cars alone after work because of the frequent problems they've been seeing down there. Restaurant goers are being verbally assaulted for not handing over their leftovers to those on the streets, someone else had a man rush at their car while yelling with a metal ball, and another person who lives nearby said they wouldn't leave the house anymore without protection of some sort.
Fort Collins is such an amazing place, and Old Town is one of the aspects that makes it so special — to hear that people are now staying away from the area to avoid having run-ins with hostile transients is unfortunate for the shops and restaurants down there, and for the city as a whole too. Several suggestions were offered up on the Facebook page, but only time will tell how on how the town plans to overcome this.