Apr 9, 2013 8:30 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News
Tonight the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association is gathering supporters at City Hall.
They are there to voice support for increased police presence in downtown to ward off what they say is aggressive behavior by some of the homeless.
The association created an online petition reaching out to the community for support on the issue.
As of today, they've gathered more than 600 signatures.
According to Deborah Cash, executive director of the organization, over the last few years, the downtown area has seen a consistent rise in aggressive panhandling, vandalism, burglary and other nuisances.
She says many store owners and visitors have voiced their fear of the area and says it is having a negative economic impact and perceptual impact on the downtown.
Her group is calling for increased police patrols, something that could end up costing taxpayers more than $200,000 a year for two additional officers; however, some in the community think that's just too much money and doesn't completely solve the problem.
"You know in terms of cost, you have to also look at the cost of not addressing the problem," said Cash. "You have to look at the impacts it has on the community, on city resources, because we are finding that we have to come behind and do a lot of clean up and that there are other costs and you have to weigh that in the balance."
According to the San Luis Obispo Police Department, they have made a concentrated effort downtown in the past using bicycle police both during the day and at night, but had to cut back daytime patrols due to costs.
The city council will now decide if this type of request is something that is needed and should be included in their budget allocation.
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