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Protestors clash on Broadway over crime, homelessness

The protest comes just weeks after the Starbucks and Jamba stores on Broadway closed their doors due to safety concerns.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Several businesses on Broadway have recently shut their doors due to safety concerns. Some neighbors in Land Park say it's the unhoused that are to blame and many of them gathered on Broadway to demand change but they were met with opposition Saturday. 

"I've never seen anything like this and I've even contemplated moving," said Barbara Deer.

Deer is part of a group of  business owners and residents demanding an increase of law enforcement presence along the Broadway corridor.  They say crime and drug use by homeless individuals is driving business down.

"It's hurting our businesses, and as my sign says, it crushes our communities," said Deer.   

The protest comes just weeks after the Starbucks and Jamba stores on Broadway closed their doors due to safety concerns.

Just across the street at the Tower Cafe, those concerns are at an all time high according to general manager Kyle Adams.

He says the homeless encampment along X Street is one of the contributing factors to a growing problem which even lost his business some customers in recent months.

"Just the break-ins that we deal with, the fact that there are needles that are just left and used in the garden here, the rampant open drug use that happens on the side of the building," said Adams. "I've had a man pull out a knife and say he was going to harm me with it." 

He says many of the unhoused individuals are making their way inside every day, causing problems.

"It's very hard to keep a single individual that you don't even have any idea who they are yet from using your bathroom and then overdosing inside of your facility," said Adams. "We need help from the police."

Counter protestors filled the streets to advocate for unhoused individuals. 

"This isn't a crisis about that guy's bathroom. This is a crisis about people's lives,” said Niki, a homeless advocate. “We're in an unprecedented overdose crisis." 

Many who support and advocate for the unhoused say there needs to be less officers on the street, more housing, access to mental health and rehab services to see a reduction in crime and drug usage.

"We see that there are not enough mental health or addiction beds," said Adam Jordan, a homeless advocate. 

ABC10 spoke to some unhoused individuals camping along X Street to get their thoughts. 

Theodore Planchardg says not all homeless people are problematic, and that a few bad apples ruin it for the entire population.

But not everyone agrees. 

"We're getting blamed for a good reason. Needles all over the ground," said Kenneth Whitlock. "I want to see this. Us to fix this. The homeless to get together and to work together to pick up the needles, pick up the caps for the people of Sacramento and the children of Sacramento." 

The Sacramento Police Department says they don't plan to increase patrols in the area at this time.

Watch more from ABC10: Here's how Sacramento is supporting unsheltered people during the heat wave

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