Neighbors in Southampton ask police to redraw district lines

Residents in south St. Louis are petitioning to have the police department districts reevaluated as a way to cut crime. (Credit: KMOV)

Residents in south St. Louis are petitioning to have the police department districts reevaluated as a way to cut crime.

Adam Wright is the president of the Southampton Neighborhood Association and said their neighborhood is one of seven that is split between two districts.

“When you have a dividing line going down your neighborhood, it almost at times can feel like two different responses,” said Wright.

Recently their South City neighborhood has seen a rash of break-ins and burglaries. While Wright said the response from the police department has been great, the neighborhood would like to see their 911 calls answered all by one district.

“We’re one neighborhood, not two, and at times it can feel like were treated like two neighborhoods in a logistical sense from the department,” he said.

In 2014, the St. Louis Police Department redistricted the city, going from nine districts to six as a way to spread out the work by officers. There have been complaints over the years that some neighborhoods in districts with high crime see a slower response time.

Wright said this is more logistical. In District 2, an officer might have to come from Dogtown all they way to Macklind. District 2 officers respond to one half of the neighborhood while District 1 officers respond to the other half.

“The disadvantage is that you have different sets of officers patrolling different sides of the neighborhood. If one notices something suspicious on one end of the neighborhood it might not reporter to the other district officers,” said Wright.

But the police department said the district lines do not have an effect.

“While the neighborhood is split between two districts, the officers assigned to those districts work closely together to address crime and implement crime prevention strategies,” said Schron Jackson, a spokesperson for SLMPD. “We do not believe district lines make a difference in how crimes are policed or prevented.”

But she said the department is evaluating the districts to see if they are effective. Mayor Lyda Krewson also said they are looking at it, but her concern is having enough man power to patrol the streets and says the focus must be preventing violent crime.

Wright said they understand that, in a neighborhood that overwhelmingly voted for Prop P, there's large support for officers, they're simply asking their homes to be policed by one district.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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