May 24, 2021
To Our Downtown Community,
The inappropriate activity that occurred Downtown this past weekend was disheartening and frightening for many. Personal and City property was damaged, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) officers were put at risk, and reports of gunfire along Washington Avenue created an overall unsafe Downtown environment. The Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District (CID) does not have the authority to directly implement safety plans for Downtown. However, the CID has been actively involved in proactive steps to support and assist the SLMPD to carry out its responsibilities for the safety of Downtown. In light of this weekend’s activity, I would like to share the following statement and summary of the CID’s safety initiatives and engagement with SLMPD and the Downtown community.
- The CID organization recognizes that crime in the City of St. Louis is an overwhelming challenge, which is made more difficult to address by the limited resources of the SLMPD and related City departments. The CID recognizes that residents, property owners and visitors are concerned with the safety Downtown, including recent troublesome events such as what was witnessed over the weekend, drag racing, and other unlawful conduct.
- The CID operates alongside 4th District police leaders in support of the SLMPD Downtown safety plan. The CID has established a connection with the new Department of Public Safety leadership, including coordinating discussions on how our CID security resources can be a force-multiplier within the comprehensive SLMPD policing strategy.
- Twice per week, I hold meetings with the 4th District Captain and various business leaders, entertainment venues, and other stakeholders. These sessions have been beneficial in allowing stakeholders to report incidents of concern in their respective areas, as well as share activities that will bring events and people into Downtown.
- The CID utilizes secondary police officers through a security contractor, TCF, to conduct mobile patrol during the week and foot patrol in the Washington Avenue Entertainment District on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings into the early mornings. These secondary officers are directed to be a visible deterrent, to intervene on concerns, and to conduct business checks while on patrol and are dedicated to addressing needs within the CID community. TCF works directly with 4th District Commanders to identify how the secondary officers can best support the SLMPD units Downtown. The secondary officers, however, are not equipped in numbers or with appropriate equipment to maintain mass crowd control.
- We understand that many have taken objection to the barricades located throughout Downtown. We are communicating with SLMPD, City Streets Department, and CID stakeholders to identify and contribute to alternative, sustainable street calming measures.
- The CID maintains a commitment to provide funding for the strategic deployment of police resources to fill in gaps identified by the 4th District Command staff, recognizing that SLMPD is the only authority which can devise a safety plan and effectively implement said plan with its law enforcement partners.
- The CID and TCF deployed Downtown Bike Ambassadors into the field on Friday, May 21st. There has been a steady increase of people returning to work and play Downtown. We assigned the Ambassadors to patrol the CID footprint each day this weekend from 11am – 7pm. We will continue to scale this program throughout the Summer as we recognize the value of having more helpful eyes and ears on the ground for overall safety. Re-deploying the Downtown Ambassador Program was a key priority of the Design Downtown STL plan.
The CID will continue to advocate for all Downtown stakeholders through our professional relationships and ongoing collaboration with law enforcement decision makers. As you all know, the CID oversees more than just security operations through our management of clean, beautification, and maintenance responsibilities. The operational success of these core assignments helps to improve the overall safety initiatives in our Downtown.
Kelli J. McCrary