ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- St. Louis police will be more visible in higher-crime areas thanks to $250,000 being given for hot-spot policing, a new tool for fighting crime.
Police have been doing some sort of hot spot policing for the past six months now. The program involves putting extra officers in higher-crime areas.
But it was a series of high-profile crimes, including the murder of former SLU volleyball player Megan Boken, that police ramped up those efforts. The extra money will allow them to continue those efforts.
Police have been seen more often in the city’s Central West End. Since the area was targeted for hot-spot policing, it’s a deterrent for criminals and a comfort for residents.
“I particularly like seeing the police on bikes going up and down our street, it’s very comforting,” said resident Patrick Tyburski.
When police started a 30-day emphasis on hot spot policing, 100 officers were switched from a day shift to a night shift, when more crime happens. More police were also assigned to the higher-crime areas. And those efforts will continue.
“We want to put the money where it works, we don’t want to throw money at things that we don’t know works and in this particular case it’s showing measurable results,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
Aggravated assaults had been up by 19 percent at this point in 2011. But the hot-spot efforts have led to a 12 percent decrease.
The $250,000 is coming from the city’s corrections department. The department has had plenty of problems as of late, including embarrassing escapes, staffing problems and the ousting of the corrections commissioner.
But Eddie Ross, the city’s public safety director, says reducing resources will not make matters worse.
“...We’ve been managing the department better since the start of the new fiscal year,” Ross said. “We’re managing the overtime much better, which frees up money to go to this really incredible crime-fighting strategy.”
The money will allow police to double the number of hot spots they’re focusing on.
Officials $50,000 will also go to the circuit attorney’s office for technology that allows citizens to follow court cases more closely.