(KMOV) – The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department transitioned from nine to six districts four weeks ago, and Police Chief Sam Dotson said his initial evaluations show the plan has reduced crime.
Under the old district map, the eighth police district was much smaller compared to districts 2 and 6. Under the new plan, each area will be similar in size and contain the same number of officers and commanders when the redistricting happens.
“Four weeks in, I’m very pleased with what I’m seeing,” Dotson said. “Our goal was to take the workload, the calls for service, balance it throughout the city, take the crime that’s happening and put officers into those neighborhoods where the crime is happening, when it’s happening and so far, it looks exactly like it we expected it to.”
Dotson said crime is down 20 percent this year, which he credits to the redistricting. One-third of the officers had to be reassigned, and Dotson said there is more balance to the officer’s workload.
“I think change is good, I think these officers are now out learning the new neighborhoods, out being proactive and all the feedback so far has been positive,” he said.
The boundaries for nine districts were drawn in the early 1960s, when the city had 800,000 residents and more than 2,000 police officers. Today, St. Louis has about 320,000 residents and far fewer officers. Some districts are far more prone to crime.