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SFPD Says Shoplifting, Fights On The Rise Around Occupy Encampment

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - The Occupy San Francisco camp near Justin Herman Plaza has grown exponentially in recent days. That increase in population appears to be bringing a spike in crime to the area.

San Francisco police have been responding to a growing number of problems in and around the protest site, and neighboring businesses have reported a spike in shoplifting. Some have begun hiring private security guards.

KCBS' Doug Sovern Reports:

"Officers have been called in on several occasions for fights and verbal arguments within the Occupy group themselves," confirmed SFPD spokesman, Sgt. Michael Andraychak. "In most cases they don't want any police charges or criminal charges filed."

According to Andraychak, one person has been stabbed and a paramedic has been punched. He said the demonstrators have been trying to keep the police out of the encampment.

"They held a meeting and declared something of a sovereignty of their space. They were not going to allow police officers and police officers with guns into the Justin Herman Plaza, which is a situation that's not going to occur," Andraychak said.

Photo Gallery: Bay Area Occupy Protests

One protester insisted the camp is nothing more than society in microcosm.

"Whatever's prevalent everywhere else in the world is going to still be happening to some small degree here," the unidentified occupy protester said. "We are still the people, and the people are going to act the way people do."

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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