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LAPD: Serious Crime Up Dramatically In Area Surrounding ‘Occupy LA’

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Los Angeles police say crime is up dramatically Downtown since Anti-Wall Street protests started.

Officials say arrests have doubled in the area from 2nd Street to Temple and from Hill to Alameda as compared to the same time last year.

The LAPD reports that serious crime has nearly tripled in the area around the Occupy camp during the first 45 days of the movement.

From Oct. 1, to Nov. 14, there have been 27 crimes reported — that’s up 10 this time last year.

The crimes range from robbery and grand theft auto to aggravated assault.

For the same time period, there have been 102 arrests (mostly from minor offenses) as compared to 60 in 2010.

The CVS Pharmacy inside the Los Angeles Mall right across the street from the camp reported having $700 worth of toilet paper stolen.

“There’s been a lot of theft. They’ve demanded syringes [from the pharmacist], toilet paper, liquor, cosmetics,” said Lisa Hoshizaki, a local business owner.

Signs have since been posted outside that CVS, asking customers to check their backpacks in at the front counter.

“Well I’m sure that the police are working that angle at this point and time to try to discredit our movement here to a certain extent,” an Occupy LA spokesperson said.

Clark Davis told CBS2′s Kristine Lazar that he believes the numbers are skewed but admits people coming off the streets to their camp hoping to take advantage of Occupy services have become a problem.

“We’re gonna have people just sign the good neighbor policy. If you don’t want to sign the good neighbor policy, then we’re going to ask you to leave,” Davis said, adding that the policy suggests that participants will not do drugs or drink alcohol on the premises and will refrain from any type of violence.

A police source told Lazar one Occupy protester has been arrested five times in a little over a month.

“As long as they are respectful of everyone else and property and people, it’s fine,” Hoshizaki added.

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