Homeless problem? Store manager says they 'need help' to battle crime issues

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Thursday, December 1, 2016
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Authorities continue to battle crime issue at the Fiesta near Midtown, Christine Dobbyn reports.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The store manager of a local Fiesta claims the homeless are creating a dangerous situation for customers.

Jim Honey has lived in Midtown for more than 30 years.

"These aren't homeless people so much as they are street people," Honey said.

He says loitering along San Jacinto has become more concentrated.

"I do know crime has exploded here in this last year. It's worse than it's ever been," he added.

Houston police say since June 4, they've responded to dozens of calls at the Fiesta Grocery Store on San Jacinto. From auto theft, to robbery, assault, shoplifting and trespassing. From the manager of the store to neighbors, they told city council they need help.

Across the street a private lot is where dozens of people hang out every day.

A homeowner at city council said of the lot and a nearby park, "We have a lot of homeless and vagrants setting up tents there. I tried to take their kids there to play."

"It's not a homeless issue. Some individuals are homeless, a lot of them are not," said Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives Marc Eichenbaum. "What it is is a substance abuse issue that is an epidemic that is threatening the city of Houston as well as cities across the nation."

He's referring to Kush, also known as synthetic marijuana.

Neighbors say they just want to feel safe whether walking down the street or going to the store.

"Keep them moving and moving until they finally realize maybe life is easier in a program," Honey suggested.

ABC13 asked the Fiesta Manager and Corporate Office for a comment or on-camera interview and they declined.

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