St. Louis police chief says redistricting is working

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - When St. Louis Metropolitan Police re-organized from nine districts to six in January, it was supposed to put more officers in trouble areas and reduce crime.

But we've seen more murders since redistricting than we had this time last year. Still, Chief Sam Dotson tells us it's working.

Dotson tells NewsChannel 5 crime is down about 15 percent overall.

Part of the reason, he says, is hot spot policing. There have been 42 arrests in Tower Grove South since the "hot spot" initiative began there on April 16.

"The workload is balanced within a percentage point or two of each district. The amount of crime is balanced within a percentage point within each district," Dotson said.

According the latest numbers, armed robberies and aggravated assaults are down. But murders are up. At this point this year the city had around 30. So far this year, we're at 44. But the chief says there's only so much they can do.

"The one we investigated yesterday a young man murdered his mother on Easter and then kept the body hidden until yesterday. I don't know how any police agency can police a young man who decides to murder his mother in his home," he said.

Twenty first ward Alderman Antonio French says redistricting is a good idea, but he's concerned about how his ward fared. It's completely in the sixth district.

"The sixth district goes all the way from the northern tip of the city down to Grand and St. Louis Avenue. So you get a lot of rough areas in there," French said. "The new sixth district now encompasses probably 40-percent of violent crime in the city, and I don't think they got the resources they need to be successful."

He tells us it'll take teamwork if the city will ever solve the crime problem.

"It's never going to be done. Our work is always going to be in progress. But our responsibility as the Board of Aldermen is to make sure we hold the chief accountable and make sure we ask those tough questions to make sure our neighborhoods are getting safer."

Chief Dotson will address the city's Public Safety Committee Thursday at 10. In this meeting, he'll answer questions from them about what the department is doing about the spike in violence. It's in the Kennedy Room, and is open to the public.


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