ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – The playoff games are a boost to the local economy and could be a boost to local crime-fighting.
St. Louis City officials are talking about using the money made from this week’s Cardinals games to continue funding their hot-spot policing efforts. The hot-spot policing has been effective in the Central West End and other neighborhoods, but one concern is that it is expensive, according to officials.
The city must find more funding to keep the program alive and may look to the playoffs as its bailout.
“When the crime happened, it stopped. You stopped seeing people going back out as much,” Sandy Berger, a Central West End resident and business owner, said of hot-spot policing. “But it’s picked back up again and I think in large part due to increased police.”
St. Louis Police Department recently finished a 30-day test of hot-spot policing, referred to as “Homicide Deterrent Initiative” or HDI. One hundred officers were shifted to nights and assigned to high-crime areas.
“In the area that we focused on we saw a 68 percent decline in the targeted crimes, meaning homicide, aggravated assaults with firearms and robberies,” Chief Dan Isom said.
The money for the program is expected to run out before the end of the year because it often requires officers to work overtime and the city also shifts money from other budgets to pay for it. The mayor is proposing using the money the city makes during the Cardinals postseason games to fund the program.
“There will be three NLCS games here that will be $1.2 million in windfall revenues that we were not anticipating when we did the budget originally,” Mayor Francis Slay said.
There were 12 areas targeted by the hot-spot policing and future locations will depend on funding and where crime increases.
It will be up to the Board of Equalization and Apportionment to decide whether to use money from Cardinals games to fight crime.