St. Louis police begin six-month hot spot policing initiative

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on March 4, 2013 at 11:35 PM

(KMOV.com) -- St. Louis police are trying a new approach to stopping crime downtown. Starting Monday residents will see more officers throughout city neighborhoods.

The department is putting more officers in areas known for crime. It’s all part of Police Chief Sam Dotson’s plan to expand hot spot policing.

Officers are not being taken out of one neighborhood and put into another; rather they’re coming from specialized units such as SWAT and narcotics.

The result is 100 additional officers on the streets. One of the biggest targets is Washington Avenue downtown.

The officers’ mission is clear: to make their presence known.

“It’s nice when you’re walking around,” said downtown resident Sarah Cerulo. “You know we walk everywhere if we’re going somewhere downtown, it’s definitely nice to have more officers out.”

Though it is in the early stages, the proposed plan is generating optimism among residents.

“Knowing that you may not get away, that there’s more police around is just enough of a deterrent I think to keep them from doing the things they’ve been doing,” said Columbus Smith who works downtown.

Currently, officers are focusing on neighborhoods in three areas: downtown, Shaw and the Baden neighborhood in north St. Louis.

At some point Chief Dotson plans to move them to other neighborhoods.

The extra officers will be out for six months. The chief will then decide if the changes become permanent.

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