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Police force increase in downtown BR is making people feel safer

1 month 4 days 11 hours ago Tuesday, January 21 2020 Jan 21, 2020 January 21, 2020 9:52 PM January 21, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - For restaurants like Schlitz and Giggles, the dinnertime rush is the most active time of the day.

As business continues to grow in downtown Baton Rouge, manager Lauren Wilson says there are some growing concerns.

"There has been a big wave of homeless people coming in as well, so the police being down here will definitely help with that."

With an increase in foot traffic in the area, the Downtown Development District came up with a way to make people safer. The police department has expanded the number of officers in the downtown area to 24.

Executive director of the Downtown Development District Davis Rhorer says 140,000 people visit the area each day. To keep up with the growth, officers will now hit the streets on bikes and in patrol cars seven days a week. 

"With a lot of people downtown, there could be potential things. And we just want to make sure everything is great and safe," Rhorer said.

Since the expansion of police presence downtown, he says they've seen a dip in the number of problems affecting local businesses. 

"In the past there's been some aggressive panhandling, and so that helped. That has absolutely gone down."

Wilson says this extra security is needed and will allow her to feel safe at work. 

"Having that officer there, it gives you a sense of security. So I don't have a problem with that at all. I think it's a great thing," Wilson said.

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