By Anna Giles

DAVIS (CBS13) — An alleyway full of crime, trash and human waste. Davis business owners said they’re fed up after one of their own was assaulted trying to clear homeless from the area over the weekend.

They call the alleyway off of E Street a hotspot of lawlessness that’s driving away customers.

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“We’re just here running our shop and having to deal with serious crime and assaults,” said Dan Urazandi, the owner of Bizarro World.

Urazandi said he saw the latest attack just days ago. Police were called to the alleyway next to his store after a fight started. He said a tattoo shop employee asked a transient to get off the property, but that transient refused and beat the employee.

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Urazandi said this just the latest problem.

“Folks started to come in and trespass and the police didn’t do anything about that. So then they start to defecate and break windows and vandalize,” he said.

Urazandi said he had his own shop broken into last month and detained the suspect himself until police got there.

Heather Watny owns the business upstairs above the alleyway. She said the situation is getting out of hand.

“I do work in the evenings sometimes and I have some gals who work here in the evenings, so we want to feel safe,” Watny said. “It’s totally outrageous that they’re not willing to come in and do something about it.”

Watny is one of several business owners who are upset with a lack of police response.

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“We hear your frustration,” said Officer Paul Doroshov with Davis Police.

But Doroshov said there’s not much they can do to clear out the alleyway because state laws often prevent it.

“One of it being, there has to be areas provided that people can sleep before you start really truly coming down on it with a heavy hammer,” he said.

But there are times officers do step in.

“Criminal behavior on the other hand is our job and we triage that as best we can,” Doroshov said.

Business owners said the alleyway is just a snapshot of a bigger problem.

“It has been part of a general degradation of the whole area and the downtown,” Urazandi said.

Police said the suspect involved in the most recent fight was arrested and also had an outstanding warrant in another area. They’re also investigating the fight as a possible hate crime after this suspect made comments on the victim’s race.

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