In response to a particularly violent summer, St. Louis officials have cracked down on problem spots, kids, and even clothing in an effort to keep things calm. Now, they are already reporting some success in the battle, boasting a decrease in violent crime in just the last 30 days.
About 30 days ago, Police Chief Dan Isom announced things would be changing for local cops—many were pulled from existing duties to bolster patrols in the most violent neighborhoods. He pulled people from day shifts and put them on patrols from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., the cities most violent hours.
An increase in enforcement paired with a curfew instated by the Mayor are being credited with up to a 68% reduction in crime in targeted areas. Several high profile murders led the charge, which focused on getting guns and young people off the streets during the evening hours.
Twenty-three year old Megan Boken was shot and killed during a botched robbery. The St. Louis University graduate was in town on August 24 for an alumni volleyball game. In just two days in September, four young people were killed, including three young men in the parking lot of Club VIP on State Street.
These cases drew attention to the fact that the city had experienced a 19 percent increase in gun crimes when compared with the same period in 2011. As a result, officials clamped down.
On Sept. 27, Mayor Alvin Parks announced a curfew for teens under the age of 17—saying they would be arrested if they weren’t in school between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., or if they were out after 10 p.m. without a parent. He also told male residents of the city to keep their bright blue and red clothing at home if they didn’t want to be arrested on suspicion of gang activity.
Both Mayor Parks’ and Chief Isom’s plans ruffled feathers, but both say their seemingly unpleasant strictness is having a positive impact.
The police union has filed a grievance saying officers weren’t given enough notice of their shift change—something the union says they are required to know about at least 30-days in advance unless it is an emergency.
Officials, however, say this was an emergency. And since making the changes, they cite a drop of 68% in violent crimes in the targeted areas when compared with the same month in 2011.
Officials make unpopular decisions in the name of public safety. And while we all want to be safe in our city, we also need to recognize the need for officials to respect the rights of the people. When safety and civil liberties are balanced, everyone wins. When, however, people can be arrested for looking suspicious or wearing the wrong color, we have to question if the policies are really for the good of everyone, or merely for the good of some.
If you are suspected of a crime, whether you were caught with drugs or if you are accused of disorderly conduct, we may be able to help. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and your legal options.