After covering the roll out of the crime-fighting, crime-preventing, camera-clad armored truck a few weeks ago outside the St. Clair County Sheriff's office, I was excited to finally see it in action. Well, not really action... It just sits there.
But the Exterminator is now parked outside an apartment complex in the 500 block of North 40th Street in Belleville.
I talked to five people who live in and around the complex. Three of them knew all about it and liked it. Two of them didn't know what it was and when I told them, they were on board.
The Exterminator, as we've reported recently, sends a live, video feed to the Sheriff's office and to officers in the field. Any one of them can monitor what's happening around the armored truck any time they want. If they see something suspicious, they'll go check it out.
Residents suspect they won't see much suspicious because no one wants to get caught. That's the brilliance behind the Exterminator... not just catching car burglars and drug dealers but preventing the behavior. One resident told me a lot of young people loiter around in the evening, but Tuesday night, the first night with the Exterminator in the parking lot, there was nothing going on. Nice.
I asked the people I talked to if they were at all bothered by the fact they too could be watched as they go about their daily business outside... getting in and out of their car, talking to their neighbor, whatever... Not one of them was.
Sounds like the Exterminator is about to become very popular.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV. He can be reached at MSchnyder@kmov.com.