Crackdown on crime at Visalia's Lincoln Oval Park

VISALIA, Calif.

Police have investigated dozens of crimes in the Lincoln Oval Park neighborhood over the years, in fact a police substation was recently built on this side of town to try to make the area safer. Visalia Police say despite some recent crimes they have made strides in improving the neighborhood.

This week, Visalia Police arrested /*Agapita Torrez*/, 59, after an ongoing investigation into drug sales at Lincoln Oval Park. When police stopped her on Tuesday morning for having an active warrant out for her arrest -- they discovered more than 50 vials of heroin on her, plus $200 in cash.

Lt. Steve Phillips, Visalia Police Dept. said, "That's a very significant amount 8 grams of heroin is -- it's obviously indicating it's not personal use it's obviously for sales."

Visalia Police say they are performing a number of narcotics investigations around the Lincoln Oval Park area.

Lt. Phillips said, "The important part of it is that's heroin that's not going to be sold to somebody and that's our ultimate goal if someone is selling it so that's a big arrest for our department and it also keeps that heroin off the street."

City officials have tried to revitalize the area by holding musical events and beautifying the park. Businesses around Oval Park tell Action News, while the neighborhood is getting better, crime and drug use is still a big problem.

Melissa Morales, Thai Place said, "We used to see a lot of fights outside and it's a little bit better. Some drugs. You see people stopping real quick hand them something and take off.

Carlos Medina, Carlos' Sportsmen's Barber Shop said, "We don't have a lot of the homeless people like we had before we had quite a few not just homeless but a lot of drug use a lot of alcohol."

Holes are scattered along Carlos Medina's barber shop windows and door. He says his shop is shot at once a year. Still, an increased police presence is helping.

Medina said, "A lot of police officers come around and they have really stepped it up to where it makes us business people here and these businesses more safe."

Police say they get the most help busting cases in the area -- when people call in tips to officers. If that continues, many have hope that the park will continue to see improvements over time.

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