Please Help Stop Crime in the Tower District

FRESNO, Calif.

Fresno Police officers patrolled the Tower District on their bikes Friday. When they were off them, officers spent the night writing citations and questioning people on the sidewalk.

"Yeah we come down here as much as we can. Resources aren't always there but this is a high priority for our area's captain. And that's why he assigned us down here." said Sgt. Glen Schafer.

Sgt. Glen Schafer leads Fresno's downtown bike unit. He says an abundance of officers in the southwest district Friday allowed his team to be out on the streets.

"The presence I'm noticing like tonight of the police officers on bikes. I'm thrilled."

Don Bedrosian owns a record store in the Tower District and says the increase in crime has had a negative impact on businesses.

"There's times I can tell people will pull up to stop and if they're not comfortable they leave. And an area like this and doing what I do the last thing we need is for people to be shunned away or made uncomfortable."

Bedrosian is one of the lucky ones. Other business owners tell Action News they've been harassed and even vandalized by people loitering in the area. Especially during the day.

Some residents say young adults and homeless people have taken over ever since the central policing district closed down earlier this year.

"I think it's just bothersome being asked to panhandle all the time you know asked for change."

The growing problem has even prompted residents to create a Facebook page called "Please Help Stop Crime in the Tower District".

Here people post comments on suspicious activity that they've seen or experienced. It's become a digital neighborhood watch program with more than 200 members.

And apparently police have taken notice. And although the department can't afford extra officers out there all the time store owners say they will take whatever added resources they can get.

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