FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Concerned neighbors demanded solutions from Fresno police after a recent spike in burglaries and other crimes in the Tower District.
Councilmembers and the police held their first ever meeting focusing on public safety at Heaton Elementary School Monday night and it was a packed house.
Officers said violent crime across the city increased by 30-percent this year.
The Tower District mirrored those statistics. Monday night they laid out their short term and long term plans to turn this around.
Susan Marks, a concerned neighbor, said, "They come and they violate our backyards, they take our bicycles and our lawnmowers."
Marks is an avid member of the neighborhood watch, actively policing her street near Harrison Avenue. She came to Monday night's meeting hoping to take back the Tower District from criminals.
"It's just really terrible because all my life in the Tower I have never seen it so bad like this," said Marks.
Things got so bad earlier this month that Fresno police had to put together a special operation. Saturating the area with extra officers the past 18 days. They worked 300 overtime shifts and officers said it's managed to drastically lower the number of burglaries and auto thefts in March.
"When you are the victim of a crime it's very frustrating, it's scary, and people want solutions to that and that's what we are here to talk about," said Lt. Dennis Montejano, Southwest District Commander.
Police said a number of factors lead to the spike in crime, including the loss of officers during the recession, as well as the downsizing of the jail and prison populations. Community leaders said they are turning things around by bringing back the Central Policing District.
"I think it's a valuable presence, not just three days where you have 10 patrol cars patrolling the entire neighborhood. Think it's continuing presence, so people are deterred," said Esmeralda Soria, Fresno City Councilmember.
Officers said they are committed to opening a new satellite office within the Tower District and will continue looking into other long-term solutions. Solutions that marks and others say they desperately need.
"We need to take back our neighborhood where these other kids are taking it over, and show them that we are not afraid," said Marks.
The location of the new satellite station will probably be in the Tower Theater.
The city managers said an announcement should be coming soon and the office should be operating no later than August.