The number of late-night attacks and robberies on the streets of Capitol Hill is up significantly over last year's pace, raising questions about the safety level in the city's core and whether police are cutting back on patrols of the area to deal with Occupy Denver protesters and the weekend crunch in lower downtown.
And 24-year-old University of Denver student Andy Greschler, the victim of the latest assault, is asking a few questions of his own.
Greschler was walking home from a friend's house at around three a.m. last Friday night when he was hit up for change by two men in the 1100 block of Pearl Street. Greschler kept walking and was attacked from behind -- with, he suspects, a baseball bat. He staggered home, then discovered his wallet was gone and his right cheekbone was shattered.
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His story was first reported on the Slow 33 blog (where the Paul Andre photo above first appeared) and then hit the television stations. Through the end of October, there have been 86 aggravated assaults reported in the Capitol Hill area for 2011, compared to 62 during the same period last year.
Denver police officials have said they're not sure if Greschler's assault is related to a spree of attacks last summer (many involving baseball bats) on the Hill. They've also insisted that the resources devoted to Occupy Denver haven't detracted from their ability to patrol neighborhoods, especially late at night.
Greschler doesn't feel reassured. In interviews he's urged fellow Capitol Hill residents not to walk home late at night and indicated plans to move out of the neighborhood.
More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver: DA drops felony assault on police officer charge that got John Sexton fired."