Chief Dotson addresses new crime statistics, rise in crime - KMOV.com

Chief Dotson addresses new crime statistics, rise in crime

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St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson speaks to the Public Safety Board. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson speaks to the Public Safety Board.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson discussed the latest crime statistics in front of the Public Safety Board, including the dramatic increase of the aggravated assault, robbery and murder rates compared to the same time last year.

At Thursday’s meeting, Chief Dotson introduced a new task force launching later this month. Federal FBI and DEA agencies will join the task force to fight against crime in St. Louis.

Chief Dotson claims the task force with interrupt the flow of drugs into the city and add additional detectives to respond to violence.

During the meeting, the city’s Aldermen continued to challenge Chief Dotson on how districts are set up and how to improve relations with the community.

Some Aldermen were unhappy with how officers are distributed throughout districts in the city. In response, Chief Dotson said there are approximately 100 officers in each of the six districts and city-wide units supplement the neighborhoods with higher crime rates. However, the department is still lacking about 70 officers.

“I think crime can go down. I know crime can go down, but with a little resistance. We need more officers to push it down,” Chief Dotson said.

Dotson and Mayor Francis Slay have requested 160 additional officers, something that would require a vote by the Board of Aldermen, and a vote by city residents to fund the hiring. However, officials took no action on a plan to hire more officers. 

Murders in St. Louis are 266% higher than last June. After next month’s debut of the new task force, five new detectives will be added to the 24 person homicide team.

“It’s not just homicides, it’s not just aggravated assaults. It is drug dealing, it is prostitution, it’s a lot of other problems that are pervasive throughout our community,” said Alderman Shane Cohn, of Ward 25. “Not just in the city, but also in the region.”

Several of the city’s Aldermen have suggested changing police districts to put more officers in high crime districts, where Aldermen believe residents have lost trust in police.

“You present these things and we tell you why they don’t work and you just disregard them,” said Alderman Antonio French to Chief Dotson.

Chief Dotson said a draft to change the borders of existing districts is in the works.

Additional details on the new task force are expected to be released on July 20.

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