By Talia Kaplan
CAHOKIA, Ill. (KSDK) - A Metro East community once notorious for crime is working hard to spruce up its image one mission at a time.
On Wednesday night they made arrests and took guns and drugs off the streets in Cahokia. Police say they tried to pull over a man on Route 3 as part of "Operation Safe Neighborhoods." They say he sent them on a high speed car chase, while throwing drugs out the window, and then jumped 100 feet off the Poplar Street Bridge to avoid officers.
"When he got down to the bottom on the ground he was able to flee still and then hid from the officers and at that time when officers surrounded the area it appeared that he gave up," said Cahokia Police Chief James Jones.
Chief Jones says the suspect was taken to the hospital for treatment.
"It is rare to have someone jump off a bridge. I only saw that several times but that's why we're out here we're trying to protect the citizens and trying to get the guns and drugs out of here," said Chief Jones.
Starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday officers flooded the streets of Cahokia looking for everything from weapons to drugs. The operation started in the St. Joseph Garden's subdivision, a hot spot for Cahokia police.
Right away police made their first arrest.
"The message is don't mess around in Cahokia," said Cahokia Mayor Gary Cornwell. He says "Operation Safe Neighborhoods" is key in spreading that message in a city once synonymous with violent crime.
"We suffered from a reputation of high crime. We are still fighting that reputation today and so our goal right now is to turn that reputation around and say we're serious," said Mayor Cornwell.
Cahokia residents can't help but notice all the effort to turn the city around.
"I'm glad they are out here they need to do that," said Andre Taylor, a longtime Cahokia resident. As of 10 p.m. police made ten arrests, seven of them were for people who had outstanding warrants.