PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Providence police are increasing patrols in a neighborhood near Brown University in response to a series of violent crimes last spring that included assaults and robberies.
       Deputy Police Chief Thomas F. Oates III told The Providence Journal  that two plainclothes officers will patrol the Thayer Street area Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.
       The officers are being hired for $40 an hour by the Thayer Street District Management Authority, a property owners' group.
       Thayer Street is lined with restaurants, bars, clothing stores and coffee shops frequented by Brown students, who returned to campus this week.
       Police say there are often large crowds late at night and officers have responded to many assaults and other crimes on Thayer Street and nearby streets where Brown students live.