New program targets transient-related crime in downtown SLO

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJune 12, 2013 

San Luis Obispo police Officers Jim Fellows and Jeremy Behrens will focus on transient-related crime in downtown SLO.

COURTESY PHOTO

The San Luis Obispo Police Department is launching a new program Thursday aimed at reducing transient-related crimes such as panhandling and drinking in public.

The Community Action Team, comprised of two full-time police officers, will patrol from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. four days a week primarily in the downtown. However, the officers will also respond to other areas of the city as needed.

Police Officers Jeremy Behrens and Jim Fellows will collaborate with social services providers, mental health crisis workers, San Luis Obispo Superior Court, prosecutors and downtown businesses to seek long-term solutions for repeat offenders.

According to authorities, during the last year nearly one-third of daytime calls for service were for transient-related crimes. In addition, 80 percent of calls for service in the downtown were also found to be transient-related.

The new team is the San Luis Obispo Police Department’s latest effort to combat misdemeanor offenses that many residents and business owners are saying plague the quality of life in the city.

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