Tower District crimes attacked head-on

FRESNO, Calif.

Residents are noticing an increase in property crimes, but they're not taking it sitting down.

Tower Patrols is a growing group of residents who are trying to push the criminal element out of their neighborhood.

And even on what they consider a disappointing weekend for crime, their work made a positive impact.

Broken glass marks the scene of the crime.

A Saturday night housewarming ended with a cold realization: crooks targeted the party.

"[We] had two of our friends' cars broken into which was unfortunate because we just moved into the neighborhood," said Monique Hernandez.

She still loves the Tower District, despite the troublesome greeting.

But about the same time thieves struck at her house, burglars also hit a beloved bar.

The Landmark lost two big screen TVs and a stereo system in a crime that touches close to home for a lot of Tower residents.

"I've lived in this neighborhood for 20 years and I am not ready to feel unsafe in it," said Christina Orozco.

Orozco is walking right toward the problem.

As part of the group Tower Patrols, she's keeping watch over her neighborhood.

On Sunday, the patrol stumbled onto this scene.

They say transvestite prostitutes were stealing a pagoda and other lawn ornaments.

But the thieves couldn't complete their crime.

"We just happened to be there at the right time and see it happen," Orozco said. "We asked them politely to put it back. They weren't having it so we called the police department."

The pagoda is back in safe hands now.

The Tower District also appears to be in good hands.

Residents say crime took a turn for the worse when the police substation on Broadway closed.

Tower Patrols is trying to fill the void -- to keep the Tower District interesting, but for the right reasons.

"It was built in art and music and culture, and we can't let that be taken away," Orozco said.

Tower Patrols is holding a benefit concert this coming Saturday at The Starline.

Their goal is to raise $3,000 to buy walkie-talkies for the people on patrol.

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