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Lower East Side Residents Split On Tompkins Square Park Police Tower

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- It was movie night at Tompkins Square Park, and the NYPD was among the crowd.

Actually, as CBS2's Matt Kozar reported, they were high above the crowd in a watch tower installed this week.

Police said the move was in response to an uptick in drugs, public urination, loitering, and homelessness.

Many longtime Lower East Side residents said the tower reminds them of a police state, and argue that the park is safer than it's ever been.

"I find it big brotherish, like 1984," one resident said.

Another resident even started an online petition to take the tower down.

It has also sparked a mock twitter feed @NYPDTweetTower.

Not everyone is against the watchtower, and you might be surprised at who wants it to be a permanent fixture.

Raymond Garcia, 67, is homeless. He told CBS2's Kozar that he welcomes the police because it's getting even more dangerous to live on the streets.

Michael O'Connor has lived in the neighborhood for nearly 40 years, and said there's recently been an uptick in bad behavior.

"To use the politically correct term, drunks, drug addicts, and crazy people, and all it takes is one of them to come up and hit you over the head," he said.

It's unclear how long the tower will stay in Tompkins Square Park.


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