Police increasing patrols with several downtown events this weekend - KMOV.com

Police increasing patrols with several downtown events this weekend

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Police are planning a counter attack to what could become a goldmine for car thieves this weekend.

Almost 70,000 members of the National Rifle Association will converge on downtown this weekend.  That is on top of the thousands of Cardinals fans expected for the home opener, Blues fans for the playoffs, and runners for the Go! Marathon weekend.

St. Louis police say one in every five guns they recover from the streets has been stolen, and many were swiped during car break-ins.  Police expect that this weekend's NRA convention attendees could be packing heat, but guns are not allowed inside the Convention Center.

"We would really advocate that one, you don't bring the gun," Capt. Kenneth Kegel, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, said.  "And two, we even have gun safes that we sell [at the department] for vehicles, and we really advocate for people to buy those if they have to have a gun with them at all times."

With hundreds of thousands of people expected to pack into downtown this weekend, the city and police are making sure your car does not become easy pick-ins for a crook.

"You should know that your car is going to be secure," Jeff Rainford, Mayor Slay's Chief of Staff, said.  "That's why when a parking lot takes your money, they have some responsibility to make sure your car is secure."

The city will be enforcing rules it laid out in September, requiring parking lot and garage attendants to stay an hour after events end.  On Wednesday, the city will send out fliers to all parking lot and garage owners to remind them of the new regulations.

On Tuesday, police met with NRA officials, who they say sent letters to attendees encouraging them to leave their guns at home.  Police are also developing a special detail to surround the hot spots this weekend.

"We're going to be monitoring the lots and the garages and have a lot of visibility out this weekend," Capt. Kegel said.

Police also say, do yourself a favor -- don't be an easy target.  Park smart.

"I just make sure there's nothing of value that's in view," Raechel Rivers said.

Rivers even stows her stuff in her trunk before she goes out.  That way, if someone's watching while she parks, the crooks are none the wiser.

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