Tower Bike Unit
An effort is underway to step up safety in Fresno's Tower District. Fresno Police has assembled a bicycle unit to patrol the neighborhood. Two officers are covering the Tower District seven days a week.
Officers Eric Santos and Joel Santos have only been on patrol a week and a half and they're already receiving a warm reception.
"We get a lot of thumbs up, people waving us down and thanking us for being on bikes. They've been waiting for it a long time," said Joel Santos of the Fresno Police Dept.
The Tower lost its central police district station off North Broadway about 4 years ago due to budget cuts. Since then residents say a criminal element has crept in.
"People that are doing drugs and we have to call in," said Frances Torres.
We spoke with a mother and daughter who have lived in the Tower 28 years. They say burglaries, vandalism and violence are acting as turnoffs to visitors.
"It's sad because this is a nice area and they're actually bringing it down by making people feel that way. So the police presence is good because they're making people feel safe to come to this area," said Francisca Torres.
Officers have already noticed big advantages to being on mountain bikes.
"There's just so many one ways and alleys it's hard to get around in a patrol car. With the bikes we can go down alleys and contact people who don't even know we're near them," said Santos.