It's not a comfortable subject for those who want to be sympathetic to others whose luck has taken a turn for the worse in life. While generally speaking, I think everyone can recognize that being homeless in itself isn't a reason to look down on someone, the alleged behavior recently of some of the Fort Collins homeless population is quickly becoming an issue the city needs to address.

To be clear up front, these incidents have been reported by people on social media and their stories have not been verified.

In a thread started on the Fort Collins sub-reddit, a user asks:

"Have any other women noticed an increasing amount of sexual harassment from homeless people in the Old Town area recently?"

She cites examples of being confronted by homeless men on their appearance, and being followed by these men while they call out "hey babe" or "I'm trying to talk to you" as they walk down the street. She and her friends are left feeling unsafe on their own lately, particularly around Old Town Square, Mountain and College or in the Firehouse Alley area. They now carry pepper spray with them or make sure they're escorted to their vehicles when they're out and about.

While this is a pretty good practice anywhere, and any time of day - not just where there's a substantial homeless population - a flood of comments from other users who have also experienced similar situations with the homeless around Old Town recently has some worried it's becoming a bigger issue than it's historically been.

One commenter who has lived in the Old Town area the last four years says it's worse than it's ever been, occurring on almost every single outing in town no matter the time of day or night. Several others who live or work nearby concur.

The common theme of all the comments is simple: if someone harasses you, follows you or is aggressive in any way, you need to report it to the police as soon as possible. The more specific the report - and details about the specific person you remember - the better. Much like not being able to win the lottery without buying a ticket, nothing will be done about something unless the authorities know about it.

Likewise, it's also important to remember that you can't judge the many by the actions of the few. Not all homeless people are disrespectful or aggressive, and reporting someone just for being homeless isn't the objective here. Keeping yourself - and others - safe is the primary goal for us all.

Like the saying goes, "if you see something, say something!"

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