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New Anti-Crime Cameras Being Installed Downtown

LOS ANGELES ( — Officials said 38 anti-crime cameras will soon be installed in downtown Los Angeles.

In the coming weeks, this new equipment will replace cameras which have been broken or failing for years.

Andrea Fujii, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, says the cameras should make streets safer.

She spoke with Jennifer Otto, co-owner of Wax Candy, a downtown business. With dozens of female clients, her store put a premium on safety for staffers and patrons coming in and out of her Fashion District business.

Skid Row is a few blocks away. Otto says sometimes vagrants have come inside her establishment.  With Wax Candy closing at 8 o'clock every night -- and it being darker -- the women who work here say they look forward to a little extra security.

She believes her customers and workers will feel safer with the cameras. "They know there's someone watching out for them."

Captain Horace Frank of the Los Angeles Police Department said, "The camera initiative is to help us in the ability to prevent crime, reduce crime in central, and if we don't get there then we can better identify and apprehend the suspects."

The police say the new cameras will be placed in what they identify as traditional problem areas -- the Fashion District, Skid Row and the Historic Core.

Broken cameras made news last year after several stabbings were reported on Skid Row -- right under surveillance cameras that were inoperative.

Fujii reported that theft in the downtown area is up this year, despite a bigger police presence. The $225,000 federal grant -- paying for the cameras -- will hopefully cut down on that statistic.

Two officers will monitor the cameras on 12-hour shifts up to six days a week.

Captain Frank says, "We're going to use the officers to monitor these cameras on a consistent basis which is something that when we had the cameras before, we didn't have."

Downtown residents insist the area is up-and-coming but concede there are still some sketchy parts.

Said one resident, "It's a famous street here known for criminality."

And said resident John Paz, "Probably if I walk four more blocks, I don't feel safe, I really don't."

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