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Downtown LA Residents Feeling Safer With Increased Patrols

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Random violent crimes downtown have put people on edge, but increased foot patrols in the area have helped put residents more at ease.

Last December, an alleged homeless person pushed another man into an oncoming truck. The man survived, but police said the homeless man went on to attack two other people.

"What we needed more was sort of a forced presence," Anthony Vejerano, co-founder of Downtown LA Strong.

The neighborhood group pushed the city to bring more foot patrols to the area, but it was LAPD Central Division Capt. Scott Harrelson who brought the much-needed coverage.

Harrelson already had a dedicated foot-beat presence, but he wanted more. And now everyone, including him, within the Central Division walks the same path at some point during their shift.

"It's a different dynamic," he said. "You actually get to walk up to people and say 'hello' and shake their hand."

Nick Previsich, who has lived downtown for nine years and helped fight for increased foot patrols in the area, said it's a good start.

"This isn't even close to enough," he said. "This area, but all of downtown really, is just hurting for community-based police model."

Harrelson told CBSLA's Jake Reiner that he is continuing his efforts to find ways to add more officers to the district's foot patrol without impacting the budget.

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