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More Problems in Downtown Park Keep APD Busy

By Dan Carpenter, Oil, Gas, Native Issues, Corporations and Subsistence Multimedia Reporter, dcarpenter@ktuu.com
Published On: Nov 25 2013 06:33:00 PM AKST

(KTUU-TV, 11-25-13)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

What changes are needed to make Town Square safe?

On Monday, the Anchorage Police Department spoke at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce luncheon to discuss a number of growing problems in and around the popular downtown spot.

According to APD, Town Square has always had some issues, but lately, officers have responded to more calls in the area related to synthetic drug use and teens hanging out with nowhere to go.

Surveillance cameras, new street lights and even removing trees and hills to increase visibility; all suggestions mentioned to reduce crime.

Some downtown businesses say they like the green space and just want it to be safer.

“I think that people who inhabit the park on a regular basis tend to feel sort of secluded because it's surrounded by trees and maybe the activities that they're partaking in, go unnoticed,” said Brian Williams, manager at 6th Avenue Outfitters.

During the luncheon, APD also said it has discussed the issue with business leaders about the problems they’re seeing and what police can do.

“We've got a little bit of additional staffing downtown during the night hours; one of the things they're doing is they're keeping an eye on Town Square,” said APD Senior Patrol Officer Jeff Bell.

Bell says one consequence of reduced staffing levels within APD is the elimination of year-round beat patrols through the park.