Business owners in Ogden say new homeless shelter has brought problems to the area

Posted at 9:37 PM, Jun 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-24 23:37:00-04

OGDEN, Utah -- Businesses on Wall Avenue in Ogden say they are losing business because of a new homeless shelter right down the street.

The Lantern House opened up last August on 33rd Street, and, since then, business owners say there has been an increase in crime.

"We've had a lot of people break into cars, stealing radios, center dash units, anything we leave out of the shop outside usually is taken," said Jason Karrels, owner of AAMCO Transmissions. "We'd like to put up a fence and stuff like that, but that costs a lot of money, like thousands of dollars."

Owner Jason Karrels says before the shelter opened, they may have been victimized once or twice a year, but now it's once or twice a month.

"It frustrates me a lot because we get customers that are mad about stuff being stolen, and it's kind of out of our hands," Karrels said.

Some issues go beyond illegal and into the realm of disgusting.

"We've even had someone go to the bathroom on the side of the building, so it's definitely a problem," Karrels said.

Staff at the Lantern House say they are trying their best to be a positive addition to the neighborhood.

"We really hope that the community doesn't take those select few and see it as everybody," said security supervisor Steve Harris.

The biggest complaint has been loitering. Lantern House says they won't put up with it.

"If they were staying here we would give them a warning, say you cannot loiter over there, if you do you will lose your bed here," Harris said. "We want a safe environment, not only for our clients staying here, but for our neighbors."