St. Louis Hills using technology, off-duty cops to deter crime

A neighborhood watch in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood but using cameras instead of neighbors.
Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 10:31 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A neighborhood watch in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood but using cameras instead of neighbors.

Just this spring, St. Louis Hills began hiring private security at nighttime, like many neighborhoods in the city have already done.

But the difference here is that they’re all using software that Tom Scheifler created specifically to root out crime in his neighborhood.

“They get the alerts on a tablet and can say that’s just Joe walking his dog or that’s three guys breaking into a vehicle,” said Scheifler.

After a successful pilot program last year, since March, there has been an off-duty officer patrolling St. Louis Hills.

Right now, they’re out four to five nights a week, adding additional protection outside of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

“They respond as quickly as they can, as often as they can, but this augments their patrols. This is above and beyond what they can do,” said Scheifler.

This came after neighbors said crime was beginning to increase.

“It seemed like it was starting to get out of hand in the next couple of years,” said Meredith Winters, a St. Louis Hills resident.

Winters has three kids, all eight years old and younger, and she wants them as safe as possible.

So she helped out by buying a security camera.

That camera, along with many more in the neighborhood, are all thrown together in a database so the private police can track anything down.

“I do feel like the security initiative has been a deterrent in disrupting thieves, sending that message that we’re out here, we’re keeping an eye on things,” said Winters.

Scheifler also said he’s spoken to neighborhoods all over the city, aiming for them to embrace his own technology to keep the entire city safer.

“We realize it’s not a problem unique to our neighborhood.” The St. Louis Hills Neighborhood Association is asking for $15 dollars a month per resident, aiming to get coverage seven times a week.

Next year they hope to be a special taxing district, so the money for private police goes directly out of their property taxes.