St. Louis Hot Spot Police Targeting Yields 68% Drop in Crime


Predictably, putting more St. Louis police officers in hot spots for crime at night has paid off with a drastic reductions in crime — but the increase in force was only temporary, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Now what? Police leaders say sustaining a 68 percent drop in crime throughout targeted neighborhoods will require better use of existing resources as well as gun control legislation at the federal level. “We know we can't continue this, because not only is there a negative effect on officers' families, but we know we need officers on (the daytime) shift as well,” said Deputy Chief Lawrence O'Toole.

The strategy, dubbed the Homicide Deterrence Initiative, pulled about 100 officers off day shifts and put them on patrols from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. in about a dozen high-crime areas. The police department plans to use approximately $150,000 of the $250,000 that the mayor's office made available to help cover overtime for about 50 officers who will continue to hit hot spots hard during the next 30 to 45 days. Criminologists from the University of Missouri-St. Louis will be studying how effective the next round of targeted patrols are, so the department can determine how best to continue. No longer having officers respond in person to some reports of vehicle break-ins will give officers more time for patrols.

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