ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Several agencies in St. Louis County are coordinating and combining resources in an effort to reduce the region's auto thefts and vehicle break-ins.
The announcement comes days after a woman was shoved to the ground, while getting into her car at the Galleria Mall parking lot. The thief got away with her vehicle.
The Clayton Police Department released details Saturday about the coordinated effort. Agencies from central and west St. Louis County police departments conducted a saturation enforcement patrol Friday evening where additional officers, specialized equipment and other resources were assigned to prevent theft of vehicles and identify suspicious persons and vehicles, according to the release.
Friday evening's saturation enforcement patrol resulted in 93 suspicious vehicles or persons being stopped, five firearms being encountered, two persons arrested for various charges and five arrest warrants cleared. The patrols covered apartment complexes, residential areas and retail districts.
The following police departments participated in the coordinated effort:
- Des Peres
- Creve Coeur
- Richmond Heights
- St. Louis County
- Town and Country
“Our cooperative efforts and shared resources have been effective in accomplishing our objectives of addressing these issues.” Town and Country Police Chief James Cavins said. “The impact these too often violent crimes have on our communities is serious. The continued commitment of all participating agencies remains strong.”
While many are pleased with these efforts, Criminal Defense Attorney Jason Korner wants more action.
"We're not talking about city-wide crime problems. We're talking about specific smaller area crime problems, and I believe that police can deal with that," he said.
Frustrated with the ongoing crime during the holiday season, Korner took to TikTok asking police to do more, after the Galleria incident on Thursday.
"It's ridiculous that the police aren't stepping up and doing something or the mall security isn't stepping up and doing something to secure these areas and keep people safe," he said on the social media app.
Korner expressed his concerns, not only as a lawyer but more importantly as a father.
"I go to the mall. I bring my kids to the mall. I mean, I think it's important that we be safe, and more importantly, we feel safe, when we're doing those kinds of things," he said.
Korner believes additional police presence should be in retail districts throughout the holiday shopping season.
"When we're talking about short-term crime, especially just the next five weeks over the holiday season, yes, I do think an increased police presence or security presence will help significantly and certainly will help people feel more comfortable," he said.
While every step forward is an important one, Korner is worried that the constant crime near malls during this time of year will drive people away.
"At the mall over the holidays you shouldn't have to be looking around like, is somebody going to pull a gun on me? Is somebody going to try to take my car right now? I believe that's where the police should be stepping in and that their presence should be eliminating, essentially that issue," he said.
The agencies remind those to lock their vehicles every night and to secure valuables in a safe place. If you see something suspicious, contact 911.