PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A local business owner in downtown Palm Springs is raising concerns over crime in the area stemming from a recent incident involving one of her employees. Mindy Reed is the owner of two restaurants in the downtown area and posted the details of the incident on social media.
Reed said one of her employees was working late one night and was surrounded by a group of transients as she walked to her car parked in the old Staples parking lot. A man told the others to back off and followed her to her car appearing to protect her. When the employee got into her car, the man tried to get in on the passenger side. The employee was able to get away unharmed.
“Thankfully she's a really smart young lady,” she said. “She only hit her lock key once to unlock the driver side.”
Reed said the incident was quite nerve-wracking for her and wanted to ensure the safety of her workers.
“I am definitely enforcing that policy where no one is even allowed to walk to their cars by themselves whether they want to or not,” she said. “I'm not going to let them because it's just not worth the risk.”
She said she wanted to make light of the incident public as Reed wanted people in the area to realize they had to remain vigilant of potential incidents in the downtown area.
“Unfortunately, we all like to think that we are in a safe place, we are in a tourist town and you know we don't actually see crimes happening,” she said. “I think they get a little complacent like we all do and you know they don't listen.”
Sgt. William Hutchinson with the Palm Springs Police Department said the department does receive numerous calls of service in the downtown area due to the high volume of people coming from out of the city as visitors. According to data from police, there have been between 30 to 40 violent incidents in the downtown area within the last 3 months. Sgt. Hutchinson said most of those stemmed from assaults due to people fighting in areas such as outside of bars to domestic violence, which was not unusual for the area.
“Anytime that you have a lot of people in a very specific area you're going to have issues,” he said.
While the incident described by Reed was not reported to police, Sgt. Hutchinson stressed to everyone that by reporting an incident like that, it would help police.
“We might not catch them we might not identify them but at least we are aware at least we can try to make an attempt to identify these people and maybe there something larger here that we need to be concerned with,” he said.
He said if workers were to be outside late at night to set up a buddy system.
“If you know you're working somewhere late at night make sure that you walk with the group of people to your car, make sure you park in a well-lit area or somewhere where there is going to be a lot of eyes watching you,” he said. “All of those things will help immensely to keep you protected.”