St. Louis Police call latest hot-spot policing effort successful

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 10:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 8 at 10:05 PM

(KMOV) – St. Louis Police called the latest “hot spot policing” a success although it’s not completed.

Last week, the department focused it’s “hot spot policing” on the Fountain Park and Lewis Place neighborhoods, which is just north of the Central West End.

Three days later, that same area was the scene of an officer-involved shooting that sent an officer to the hospital and killed one suspect.

News 4’s Steve Savard spoke with St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson about the impact his officers are making.

“The officers were in these neighborhoods patrolling like we asked them too. They saw what they thought was a hand-to-hand drug transaction. They tried to stop the vehicle. It crashed a couple of blocks away. When the officers get there the driver starts shooting at them with a semi-automatic weapon,” said Chief Dotson.

An officer was hit in the foot, a suspect shot and killed, a couple of others taken into custody. The chief said that’s just another case of hot-spot police getting the bad element out of a neighborhood.

"We hope that it makes a difference, them being here and getting rid of some of the negative elements,” said Lawrence McKnight.

McKnight works at the Centennial Christian Church in the Fountain Park Neighborhood and he grew up there in the 50’s and 60’s.

He said he worked at the church every day and he sees the added patrols every day as well. He said it has given him a sense of security when he sees the passing police officers.

That’s music to the ears of the police chief who brought out the crime statistics for this latest “hot spot policing” effort in these neighborhoods.

Twenty-two arrests for crimes from drugs to stolen autos, three guns taken off the streets and officers found a witness to a homicide they were searching for.

News 4’s Steve Savard asked Chief Dotson “you don’t just want to make arrests you want to gain the trust and confidence of the people in the neighborhood?” 

Chief Sam Dotson responded “that's exactly how it works.  We come in, I’ll use the weed and seed analogy. We weed out the bad elements.  We come behind with the city services with the building inspector to board up vacant buildings, with the parks department to trim vacant lots if they need it and with the street department to patch up streets and fix lights.  It’s a whole effort, a holistic approach to crime fighting."

He wants to perfectly clear; no officers have been taken off patrols in any other part of the city to focus on these two neighborhoods. The extra officers come from units such as SWAT which cover the entire city already.

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