An alarming rise in incidents involving drugs and homelessness is causing significant problems for businesses on Tucsons east side, near Pima Street and Tanque Verde Road.

According to CrimeGrade.orgs interactive crime map, the area has higher levels of vandalism and property crime than surrounding neighborhoods.

This is the same area where, just last week, a group of five men were arrested for pointing guns at passersby. The guns were later found to possess illegal automatic triggers.

Dr. Jeff Vendsel, who has run Advanced Chiropractic in the area for ten years, describes a disturbing shift over the past few months.

Somewhere September, October, we started getting a large number of homeless people that have been making our buildings, buildings both the north and the south of us, their home base, Vendsel said.

Vendsel added that conditions have worsened since the smoke shop moved in.

He recounted frequent issues with people sleeping on his property and engaging in drug activities nearby, with Vendsel taking photos and videos of various incidents occurring over the past months.

The increased crime and vagrancy have started affecting his business.

Ive had a few people inform me that they just dont feel safe being here, Vendsel said. And I cant say that I blame them.

Vendsel describes an ebb and flow of people, sometimes numbering two, sometimes twelve, congregating at the bus stop near the intersection.

At a nearby plaza, Integrity Treatment Solutions has experienced similar problems in recent years. Co-owner David Krepp described having security cameras stolen twice and their company van repeatedly vandalized.

The latest thing thats happened to the van, its been shot, Krepp said. So theres a bullet hole in the passenger side.

Krepp says that the incidents mostly occur during the night, while the daytime is relatively quiet.

In response to the rising issues, the buildings owner hired a security company to patrol the area at night.

Krepp noted some improvement. Because of our patrol, I think, theyve kind of pushed out of our building area and gone right next door.

Vendsel confirmed that the security detail now also patrols his offices parking lot.

Its definitely helped, he said. But its not taking care of the problem.

Both business owners expressed compassion for the homeless population and acknowledge that homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness are intractable problems impacting many of the areas of the city.

They both describe experiences where theyve provided help to homeless individuals, such as letting them use their phone or handing out water.

However, they emphasized the need for solutions from the city, county and state in order to run their businesses.

As an individual, you can only do so much, Vendsel said. And as an individual, you can only take so much.

Krepp echoed this sentiment.

I respect and support the police department, he said. I just kind of hope maybe they can maybe put more focus on this area.

A spokesperson for the Tucson Police Department (TPD) reported receiving four calls in the past 90 daysone from the UPS Store and three from Big O Tiresrelated to these issues.

According to Dr. Vendsel, three patrol cars were posted in the parking lot of the plaza on the morning of Wednesday, June 12.

The City of Tucson provides a list of resources for those who are or know someone facing homelessness.