New Times Square police unit formed amid complaints over costumed characters, topless women

The New York Police Department is creating a new unit to patrol Times Square amid growing complaints over panhandling costumed characters and topless women.

Chief of Department James O'Neill said Wednesday officials will recruit 50 additional officers to the Crossroads of the World, bringing the number there to 100 by this fall. He says officers assigned to the new unit will work regular shifts and the same posts at the famed intersection to put peoples' minds at ease.

Crime is low at the popular tourist destination. But recent publicity over characters dressed like Elmo and women in body paint and thongs seeking tips for posing in photos has generated calls for action.

A multiagency task force is looking into ways to address the issue.

The topless women say people are having fun and there's no problem.