Fresno police are reporting major declines in crime in the Tower District, the result of a round-the-clock focus on the eclectic central Fresno neighborhood.
Lt. Mark Salazar, commander of the department’s Southwest District, said there has been a 40 percent decrease in robberies, a 36 percent drop in burglaries, a 35 percent decline in car break-ins and a 64 percent reduction in stolen cars in the Tower District.
Salazar added that the downward trend would have been greater if Tower District officers had not been shifted to the southwest Fresno area to attack an uptick in gang-related shootings.
The drop in crime is based on incidents in July and August when compared with cases in May and June, Salazar said.
Officers involved in the Tower District anti-crime effort include investigators, patrol officers and Problem-Oriented Policing officers. In addition, some bicycle officers who routinely circulate downtown have been pedaling through the Tower in recent months. Salazar said he has encouraged his officers to become familiar faces there by stopping in at popular spots such as Teazer World Tea Market and Mia Cuppa Caffé.
The lieutenant said citizen involvement through social media sites such as Facebook’s “Please Help Stop Crime in the Tower District” have also played a huge rule in crime reduction. Police monitor the page, where neighbors are quick to point out problems and identify possible criminal activity.
Perhaps the most high-profile arrest in the area to contribute to the downward trend took place in early August when officers chased down three armed robbery suspects who targeted a victim near Wishon and Fern avenues.
Salazar added that violent crime in southwest Fresno remains a priority for the department, and that the trend is also spiraling downward. He said that six weeks ago, the area was averaging a murder every 20 days. It has now been 46 days without such a crime.