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Meet in the Street kicks off as Denver gets ready to address safety on 16th Street Mall

Concern about assaults & aggressive panhandlers
Posted: 9:38 PM, Jun 24, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-26 09:59:17-04

Recently, the 16th Street Mall has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, but this weekend an event aims to change the mall's image.

The third annual Meet in the Street  kicks off Saturday, June 25. This year it will be held on both Saturday and Sunday, running for five consecutive weekends.

"I would really encourage people to come down especially during Meet in the Street and we know the more positive activation you bring to a space the safer that space becomes," said Brea Olson, marketing communications manager for the Downtown Denver Partnership.

The Downtown Denver Partnership, Mayor Michael Hancock and Police Chief Robert White are expected to announce new security plans on Monday. A press conference is scheduled at the Downtown Denver Partnership, located on the 16th Street Mall.

Denver7 reported that police are increasing patrols on the mall following a string of assaults, mostly from aggressive panhandlers .

On Friday morning, a man took pictures of a fight on 16th Street while he was walking to work.

"They got really close they started yelling at each other and pushing and shoving and just started whaling on the guy," said Felixx, who did not want to give his last name.

A homeless man also complained about the recent violence and tells Denver7 that some people are causing problems. Police said they're noticing more transients coming in from out of town.

"It's not all of them though, don't get me wrong there's groups of them that ride the train and go from town to town until they get kicked out.," said Andy Davis.

City officials and business owners hope the recent problems do not deter people this weekend.

"You know, Meet in the Street is really a chance for us to show what a great space this is," said John Ott with Premier Ventures Restaurant Group.

During Meet in the Street, the Mall Ride will be moved to 15th and 17th Streets allowing for a truly pedestrian mall. There will be live music, 10 extended outdoor seating areas and activities for kids. Every weekend promises to have different features.

"It really transforms the mall experience for people who come down here," said Olson.

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