Facebook page helps Tower community spotlight crime issues

Local News

A Facebook page focused on crime in the Tower District in Fresno has gained the attention of thousands of followers. The page, “Please Help Stop Crime in the Tower District” has become a neighborhood watch tool to help deter crime in the popular area.

Time is flying for the owners of the Tower Clock Shop. Owner Susan Anaya said, “We’ve been here now, this is our 29th year. And we are really busy.”

Her family business has been in the same spot on Olive and Wishon for decades. Anaya said they’ve seen their share of homeless issues in the area.

“Sometimes they’ll sleep in our doorway at night. We find a bunch of trash and debris, and we clean it all up,” said Anaya.

But, it’s petty crime she’s seen ticking up in the last few years.

She explained one crime incident that occurred at Tower Clock Shop a few years ago, “It was right after five o’clock and he was pulling on the door… he smashed the window on the side next to the door.”

Anaya turns to the Facebook group “Please Help Stop Crime in the Tower District”.

Stephen Mintz is a page administrator. He said, “Give people a forum where they can say what’s happened to them.”

Mintz’s friend, Jay Parks, started the Facebook page in 2011.

“I just thought it would be a good way to like, get all of the, you know, the residents and the neighbors and friends around here to keep an eye out and put some awareness out there,” said Parks.

Parks believes the page acts as a digital neighborhood watch group. Followers can post about incidents of crime that happened to them.

“There seems to be a very committed group of people to elevating the quality of life here in the neighborhood,” stated Parks. “Please Help Stop Crime in the Tower District” has now garnered more than 9,000 followers – people who can communicate about what’s going on.

Mintz commented, “People who are on the page also post preventative measures. I think more people have gotten cameras and security systems because of the crime, but also because of the page.”

Esmeralda Soria is the Fresno City Councilmember who oversees a majority of the Tower District. She too, lives in the area.

“I personally, in the last four years that I’ve represented this area, I’ve been a victim of crime twice,” Soria shared.

But despite the crime, Soria believes illegal acts in the area are on a downward trend.

She stated, “One, our economy doing a little bit better right? And two, there are groups here in the Tower District that are committed to making sure that the Tower (District) is a safe place.”

Soria credits groups like the Facebook page, “Please Help Stop Crime in the Tower District”. It’s a page Anaya believes will continue to protect the Tower District – the little gem neighborhood in Fresno.

“It’s really a homey little neighborhood, and there’s a lot of really nice people,” Anaya said.

To view the “Please Help Stop Crime in the Tower District,” click here.

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