New curfew on Washington Avenue, residents say it better work

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by John Knicely

KMOV.com

Posted on June 15, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 7:51 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- As of 10 pm Friday night, anyone on Washington Avenue between 9th and 14th Streets had better be 21 or older. 

St. Louis Police added a curfew to their plan to crack down on recent shootings and fights in the entertainment district. Residents in the area welcome the security measures but say they better work.

The curfew is in effect Friday and Saturday nights from 10 pm to 4 am. That stretch of Washington Avenue will also be closed in both directions to cut down on people cruising.

“It's a huge improvement to have the curfew and allow the people who are supposed to be in there be in there,” said Mike McCarthy, who has lived on Washington Avenue for two years.

McCarthy echoes the thoughts of many who live downtown.  Recent crime has him considering moving to another area.

“I've honestly considered it,” he said.  “It's one of those things. When you live down here, you've changed your life to come down here to help build the city back up. I think one of the things you have to consider is your safety.  Even going out on Friday and Saturday night you have to second guess your decision because of the recent shootings that have happened.”

Residents and police say they have noticed larger groups of people under 21 in the past few weekends.

“We've seen an inordinate number of people under 21,” said St. Louis Police Lieutenant Dan Zarrick.  “We’re not saying they're the main problem.  Just having that number of people on the streets not frequenting any of these businesses has prevented us from making this the safest street possible.” 

Police will not be checking everyone’s IDs as they enter Washington Avenue.

“If we see a group of people that look under 21 in the festival area we will have an officer challenge them and they will be asked to go,” Lt. Zarrick said.

Police are looking for feedback from residents, customers, and businesses on Washington Avenue.  Email them at communityresponse@slmpd.org.

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