Police target Spanish Lake apartment complex known for violence, criminal activity - KMOV.com

Police target Spanish Lake apartment complex known for violence, criminal activity

(KMOV) -- Police are zeroing in on an apartment complex that has become a magnet for criminal activity.

In an 18-month period, calls for police help totaled more than 3,600 from the Countryside Apartment complex in Spanish Lake.

"Everything from murders, to robberies, to burglaries, and auto thefts. You name it. All the part one crimes categories are represented in this particular apartment complex,” St. Louis County Lt. Col. Troy Doyle said. Lt. Col. Doyle commands the county’s North Precinct Division.

It was Doyle’s idea to add more foot patrols to the complex, which has close to 800 units. Two additional officers will walk around the complex three nights a week, Doyle said.

The additional patrols began in early September. Doyle said in a three-week period, crime at Countryside Apartments has dropped substantially.

He said assaults fell by nearly 50 percent. Burglaries dropped by about 45 percent, he said. Meanwhile, the number of drug violation arrests increased by 33 percent.

Doyle said the number of arrests for trespassing increased by 75 percent. He said that figure is indicative of a larger problem – he said visitors, and not residents, are the greatest source of criminal activity at Countryside Apartments.

He noted many of the people who were arrested have a criminal background.

"The first day we were out here, we filled up the precinct station with arrests,” Doyle said. “Most of them were people who had current warrants for drug or weapons violations. And some of the arrests were individuals who had in possession stolen guns or marijuana.”

The apartment complex’s owner said he forbids anyone with a criminal background to live at Countryside Apartments. He said background checks are conducted on potential tenants, and yearly when leases are up for renewal.

The additional officers added to the foot patrols work overtime, which is paid for by the apartment complex.

St. Louis County Police are encouraged by the drop in crime at Countryside. But not all residents believe a greater police presence will make a difference.

"It ain't going to change. They've been doing this for years, police trying to stop people,” Tevonte Harlan, a tenant, said.

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