A Denver business owner is speaking out after the city fined him for refusing to clean up human feces on his property.
Jawaid Bazyar, the owner of a communications company in downtown Denver, told Fox31 in an interview aired last week that he’s fed up with the city’s inaction on enforcing public defecation and trespassing laws.
“The wall is a bathroom stall. They lean up against it and let it rip,” Bazyar said. “In downtown Denver, that’s nonstop now, just piles of poop.”
“I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do. The government’s primary job is public safety. I think it’s a lot of politicians don’t want to be seen as anti-homeless or heartless,” he added.
Bazyar said the alleyway alongside his business property has become rife with vagrancy and other sorts of illegal activity, including prostitution and drug transactions.
He told Fox31 that homeless people defecate on his property on a nearly daily basis. His employees have been assaulted. Syringes cover the ground.
But, according to Bazyar, police aren’t doing much to stop the problem.
“There have been periods where we literally call 10 times a day,” he told Fox31.
Bazyar said he and his employees have cleaned up the feces in the past but refuse to do so any longer, citing health concerns.
A spokesperson for the city told CBS4 that any issues occurring on Bazyar’s private property are his problem.
He disagrees, arguing that the city is responsible for the broader problem of public crime and public health.
“If the city’s not going to enforce laws against trespassing, or camping, or public defecation and just make me bare the cost of these problems that’s just not right,” he told CBS4.
The homelessness crisis
Denver isn’t the only city to struggle with a homelessness problem, and Bazyar isn’t the only citizen frustrated by local government’s response.
This week, a Los Angeles woman spoke to a local news station about how a homeless man poured a bucket of steaming diarrhea on her earlier this year.
While federal statistics show homelessness trending downward nationwide, a number of American cities have struggled with vagrancy ― and the attendant toll of human waste.
Every city is different, and diagnoses of the problem vary by ideology. Liberal wonks tend to blame rising costs of living, slow wage growth and lack of affordable housing. Conservatives point to over-generous welfare programs, cultural decay and liberals’ reluctance to crackdown on people they view as victims.
In September, business owners in one Seattle neighborhood told local media that a single homeless woman staying in a nearby illegal encampment has been terrorizing their block with her feces for months.
“It’s a health hazard,” grocer Mike Sandberg said to KOMO News. “It’s just something I can’t believe is allowed to happen. It seems like there is no law.”
Meanwhile, Portland police acknowledged earlier this year that they’re powerless to stop homeless people from relieving themselves in public, even if it happens right in front of them.