Chief Hayden focusing on 'crime rectangle' in north St. Louis -

Chief Hayden focusing on 'crime rectangle' in north St. Louis

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John Hayden (Credit: St. Louis Metropolitan Police) John Hayden (Credit: St. Louis Metropolitan Police)

ST. LOUIS ( -- St. Louis' new police chief wants to zero in on an area he says is a center for violent crime; a rectangle of land on the city's north side.

Police Chief John Hayden identified the area from Goodfellow to Vandeventer as a center of violent crime.

Tuesday night, Chief Hayden sat down with local church leaders to hear to hear a plan to help people living in the area who are anxious for change.

"The neighborhood is torn up and it tears me up inside to see the decay," said Vincent Clark, owner of a barber shop along St. Louis Avenue., right on the edge of the “crime rectangle.” "I would love to see Chief Hayden come down and talk with us and talk with some of the people in neighborhood and just walk around see what he can do to help."

James Clark of Better Family Life invited Hayden to join them and enlist area churches as well in reaching out to the communities who need help.

Chief Hayden said churches are already connected to communities so it's a great place to begin.

"I think it's important to start with the church because the church has kind of a community based orientation, so the church is already involved in ministries, already concerned about making sure people have food, clothing and shelter," Hayden said.

He added that gathering church leaders in one place is about getting everyone committed to the same mission.

"When you look at the rectangle, the church is the number one populated institution and you have multiple churches in every neighborhood,” Clark said. “A lot of shootings but that's life."

About 50 people attended Tuesday night's meeting.

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