(KMOV.com) -- Tens of thousands of Cardinals fans are expected to pack Busch Stadium for Monday's home opener, with thousands more at downtown bars and restaurants.
With a large crowd concentrated around the stadium, St. Louis police urged fans to use common sense to avoid becoming victims of crime. Chief Sam Dotson said an increased police presence should help keep criminals away.
“We have increased patrols," said Dotson. "We have extra officers, on duty, overtime, in plain clothes and in uniform, patrolling the downtown area."
He would not say just how many.
“There are a lot more people,” Dotson said, smiling.
Statistics show overall crime in this area is down nearly 23% from the same time last year. Among other tactics, Chief Dotson credits hot-spot policing, extra patrols and security cameras for the drop.
“[We] make sure that we've got as many eyes as we can, so although you may not see us, we are watching you,” said Dotson.
But Dotson said officers need your help too. Look for parking lots with attendants; they are required by law.
After you have found your place to park, tuck away valuables and loose change, and leave the guns at home.
"If a criminal breaks into your car and steals your gun, that's what I worry about most, that legal gun becoming an illegal gun,” said Dotson.
Parking smart is advice Cardinals fan Kim Knaust has heard before.
“I don't leave any real valuables in the vehicle,” she said.
With police on the streets, and her family close by, she is mostly worrying about one thing: a win.
"It's Cardinal Nation all the way!" she said.
If you were not one of the lucky ones to score tickets ahead of time, there will be scalpers near the stadium all day on Monday. Chief Dotson said be wary of a deal that seems too good to be true, and do not carry around large amounts of cash.