Residents of violent north St. Louis neighborhood begin to feel hope

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by KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 8:59 PM

Residents in the College Hill neighborhood in north St. Louis are beginning to feel a sense of hope after police last week began focusing on stopping an escalation of violence.

As of Wednesday, police have made 34 arrests for drugs, weapons and other crimes, including probation and parole violations.

For or the first time in years, there is hope in the neighborhood.

“I feel that the neighborhood has a chance to revive itself,” said one resident.

That’s something that’s been unheard of for years. Unheard of until even last week.

“I haven’t heard as many gunshots as I usually do around here,” another resident said.

There’s more than a “heavy” police presence in the neighborhood. There’s been a squad car on every single corner, which has led to the dozens of arrests.

The extra police presence was initially started to help solve shootings that killed three people and left another badly wounded in recent weeks.

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French told News 4 he thinks the effort has helped in more ways than one.

“It has shown the police have taken an interest and stopped what was a feud and shooting every night,” he said.

But he’s always aware of what happen once they decide to pull out the extra officers.

“We’ll see.  Even if we don’t have 80 police officers patrolling the area, I’m still committed to the area, some of the neighbors that work real hard are committed.” He said.

French believes in his grass roots effort, but recognized it was Mayor Francis Slay who ordered the crackdown.

“I think the way this system works is the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and we did a lot of squeaking and the police responded,” he said.

Residents who live in College Hills seem to care less about who gets credit and more about the bottom line: is the neighborhood getting safer?

St. Louis Alderman Lewis Reed, Mayor Slay’s challenger for the upcoming mayoral election, was traveling Monday. But his campaign told News 4 they believe hot spot policing is effective, but in small areas for limited times.

They said the criminals are smart enough to move a few blocks away, and cited numerous examples of shooting throughout the city of St. Louis in the past week.

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