BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Local leaders celebrated downtown Bakersfield during an event called the State of Downtown. It’s a celebration that provides an update about downtown and its plans for moving forward.

Those plans are all about beefing up security throughout the downtown area and even adding in new cameras to try and curb illegal activity.

Downtown Bakersfield has struggled with a host of issues from homelessness, to burglaries. Vandalism and dumpster bonfires being some of the biggest issues. We’ve reported for more than a year how business owners they’ve reached their limit but with security measures like the Block to Block program.

Trespassing, vandalism, and burglary have been on the decline. The bicycle street gang that ran amok terrorizing downtown businesses and their patrons is a thing of the past according to O&A security, the downtown’s private security force.

“The downtown is becoming more alive. It’s safer to come down here and we’re spending our time to make sure the businesses are safe, the customers are safe, so come down,” JW Owens the owner of O&A Security.

The block to block program started a year ago. The actual scope of of the program covered just a small section of Downtown Bakersfield with it’s walking patrol from Wall Street to 20th and Chester to H Street. But now it’s growing and the plans are for it get much, much bigger.
From Truxtun Avenue to Golden State Highway and from A Street to Mill Creek Park.

“We’ve mapped it out to 12 zones in the downtown area and we’re working on getting funding for those areas to be able to have the security and all of the areas in downtown,” Melanie Farmer the president of the Downtown Business Association said. “We’re also looking security cameras.”

Another topic celebrated at the event was the completion of the Downtown Bakersfield Urban Development Plan as well as the Taste of Downtown, a fundraiser celebrating and promoting downtown restaurants.