ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Downtown leaders are weighing in on the recent increase in car break-ins News 4 uncovered last week.
The Downtown Neighborhood year-to-date (through Sept. 5) numbers from police revealed 533 larcenies from motor vehicles. During the same period last year, there were 505 larcenies from motor vehicles in the Downtown Neighborhood. This reflects an increase of 5.5 percent, according to police.
After News 4’s Justin Andrews’ report on the recent spike in car break-ins, the city says its heightened security and is working with police. Leaders say they’ve added more sophisticated technology to the parking garages to restrict who can access the garages during the evening and night hours.
A man who recently moved to downtown St. Louis was the victim of a car break-in.
CEO and President of Downtown STL Inc., Missy Kelley, says her office is paying for eight secondary officers to do foot patrols downtown.
The officers are employed by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, but are hired to patrol downtown seven days a week while not covering a shift for the department.
Kelley says car break-ins happen so fast, it is hard for police to catch it.
She says there is no support from the court system – specifically the Circuit Attorney’s Office – when it comes to holding criminals accountable.
“So if you’re immediately turned back out or sentence is so light that it’s not even a deterrent, all of those piece are important,” said Kelley. “It’s not just deterrents, it’s not just policing… it’s actually the court system helping to reinforce these laws matter and if you break them the consequences are not worth it. We’re not getting help from that.”
We reached out to the Circuit Attorney’s Office to get a response. The office sent us this statement:
Unfortunately, Ms. Kelley has not been provided accurate facts in this matter. In virtually every car clotting and break-in case brought to our office, we issue the exact charges that police are requesting. In addition, we have specific protocols in place that help us monitor these defendants and their bonds.
In regard to sentencing, 67 percent of all individuals convicted of crimes are given probation by the Court. The Court takes our sentencing recommendations in less than 10 percent of cases.
I invite Ms. Kelley and anyone with a vested interest in public safety to come to my office to discuss our approach to public safety. We are committed to working with all people who want to reduce crime and promote the health and well-being of our community.
The prosecutor’s office says it has specific protocols in place to help monitor defendants and their bonds.