Police beef up patrols in Delmar Loop after weekend incident - KMOV.com

Police beef up patrols in Delmar Loop after weekend incident

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(KMOV) -- Both St. Louis and University City police began stepping up patrols on the Delmar Loop Thursday night

Drivers can expect to see more than a dozen extra officers there throughout the weekend.  The greater presence follows last Saturday's shooting.

There's an invisible line separating University City from the City of St. Louis, yet it's all part of the Loop.  St. Louis police have set up its command post on the U City side.  They'll be there all weekend to make it known that fights won't be welcome.

The ecletic Delmar Loop is one of America's great streets, but shop employees say unruly teens threaten its safety.

"You actually hear them before you see them," Natalie Carroll, an employee of a Loop cycling shop said. "There are a ton of kids, and they're unsupervised; just hanging out.  It's kind of uncomfortable to tell you the truth."

Especially after last weekend's melee.  City leaders on both ends of the Loop say that was an anomoly, but it's the second time in a year that mobs of teenagers have caused a ruckus.

"You know if you look over there, there's a 4-year-old -- at the most -- walking around," said Rico Taylor, a Loop customer.  "Now imagine if the bullet had gone around and hit him.  His life is over because you got angry at something that probably wasn't even worth fighting over, let alone shooting over."

Taylor says it's sad that a couple of dozen hooligan teens can ruin a good thing for the majority.

Police hope a bigger presence will help people to feel safer and allow them to have a quicker response if a fight flares up.  Nearly a dozen extra St. Louis police officers are working 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. through Sunday.  Several students are out of school for Good Friday.  The department's Nuissance Abatement Vehicle is set up on one end of the Loop and a command post is stationed on the other.

U City enforces a 9 p.m. curfew on anyone younger than 17, but just blocks away, the city of St. Louis allows teens to stay out until midnight on the weekends.  Witnesses to last weekend's fights say that's part of the problem.

"You had a bunch of youngsters out here and they pushed them out of U City and into the city [of St. Louis] and they collided," Keith Fell said.  "U City and the city kids -- that's how all the fighting started."

Both cities have vowed to work together in an effort to prevent it from happening again.  After all, the Loop's reputation is at stake.

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